IMPORTANT CLASSICAL GILTWOOD OVERMANTLE MIRROR
WITH CARVED PALM FROND DECORATION
Attributed to John Doggett (1780-1857)
The rectangular mirror frame with carved rosettes in each corner with engaged oval pilasters encrusted with carved decoration in the form of palm fronds.
70½ x 39¼ inches
Condition: Excellent: approximately 10% of the carved elements have been re-carved replacing missing carving. These have been gilded to match. Small spots of repair throughout. Original gilt surface has been cleaned of dirt. Retaining original mirror plate and original backboards.
This is a mirror of extraordinary quality. In twenty-five years, we have seen very few Classical pier mirrors to match it and none to exceed it. One identical mirror is known in a private collection in Boston’s Beacon Hill. The palm frond is an ancient symbol of victory used by the Assyrians, Greeks and Romans and in western Christian art to symbolize the victory of the spirit over the flesh.
Recent scholarship by Richard C. Nylander, Curator Emeritus of Historic New England, indicates that this and many similar mirrors of the period were made by John Doggett, a highly successful gilder and frame maker, formerly of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
The present mirror could correspond to an invoice from Doggett in a letter book in the Winterthur collection, to Mr. H.W. Miller dated April 25, 1829 from Doggett’s Boston “Looking Glass and Carpet Warehouse/ No. 12, 14 & 16 Market St./ 1 Looking glass french plate $25.00” It is evident in Doggett’s letters that he was purchasing mirror plates from the Royal Plate Glass Manufactory in Paris in 1825.