This wall bracket may have been among the “Brackets glasses etc” purchased by George Washington from the Philadelphia carver and gilder James Reynolds on March 16, 1791. Mounted below a looking glass, it supported a lamp that would have illuminated the green drawing room of the presidential mansion during the Friday “drawing rooms” hosted by Mrs. Washington and other evening entertainments. At the conclusion of his term, Washington presented this bracket and its mate, along with a pair of oval looking glasses and lamps, to Elizabeth Powel, widow of Mayor Samuel Powel, as a “token of his respectful and affectionate remembrance.”
See also W-1181/A-B and W-57/B-C.
Carved and gilded wall bracket with a half-round or demilune shelf atop a two piece, T-form support formed from a series of C-scrolls. The shelf is carved in the form of a shell on the underside and is left unfinished on the top. The back of the support, roughly the shape of an inverted, equilateral triangle, has a narrow cornice above a plain, central, spine, with symmetrical ornament on each side that forms an open hexagon with acanthus ornament at the top above a series of three pendant bellflowers or leaves and an open hexagon surrounded by acanthus ornament at base. Just below the cornice on either side of the spine are short, upward facing C-scrolls with acanthus ornament along their backs. The sides of the back support are formed from a series of four C-scrolls, the center of which is larger than the rest and faces inward, joined to the main spine by a horizontal C-scroll at center. The center of the support, roughly the shape of an inverted, scalene, right triangle, matches the carving on one half of the back support.
The shelf is screwed to the top of the T-form support. The original swag of gilt, gesso, and wire berries and foliage that hung across the front of the bracket is missing. Short sections of the central C-scroll and the C-scroll on the base of the proper right side are missing.
Gilt, gesso, wood, wire, iron
Overall (H x W x D): 18 in. x 12 3/4 in. x 8 1/2 in. (45.72 cm x 32.39 cm x 21.59 cm)
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