CARVED GILT-WOOD PIER MIRROR WITH ELABORATE FOLIATE CORNER ELEMENTS
Attributed to John H. Williams
New York, c. 1828-1832
The mirror divided 1/3-2/3, framed by a gilt-wood cove frame with elaborate carved foliate elements.
57½” x 30″
Condition: Excellent: Retaining original mirror plate.
An identical mirror is known bearing the label of looking glass maker, John H. Williams, at 345 Front Street, New York. Williams had been listed in the New York City directory only at 315 Pearl Street since as early as 1813 and continued there until at least 1840. It would appear that he briefly had a shop on Front street making it possible to date this mirror to that four year period. A closely related monumental pier mirror with similar elaborately carved corner elements , possibly by Williams, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (Accession Number: 2001.25.).
A carved gilt-wood pier mirror was designed to be placed against narrow architectural piers between flanking windows or doors. Typically, they would have a pier table below them, usually with a mirror plate forming the back of the pier table below the top. This would create a virtually continuous column of mirror for the purpose of reflecting day or candle light into an otherwise dimly lighted room and would have the effect of making the pier table top appear to float out into the room. The gilded frame of the mirror was also intended to have the same decorative and practical effect of reflecting light.
An image of the use of a gilt-wood pier mirror at the far end of the double parlor at Millford Plantation can be seen here. Millford Plantation is now part of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust and is open to the public.
(Reflected pendant light fixture not included)
Other rare and fine American Pier Mirrors are available on this website.