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Gilded, vertical, rectangular, pillar looking glass with a molded, projecting cornice having a line of beading just below the top edge and large, applied balls attached to its underside, a reverse-painted glass or verre églomisé panel (replacement) at top, and pilasters along each side. Blocks just below the cornice are ornamented with applied gilt eight-petal floral ornaments. Between them is a narrow frieze with applied gilt ornament consisting of an eight-petaled flower at center flanked by chains of large strawberries and pairs of acorns. Below the frieze, corbels or modillions ornamented with acanthus on their front faces frame the reverse-painted glass panel. The mirror is framed by fluted half pilasters with acanthus-carved capitals and spool-like bases that stand on projecting blocks at the lower edge of the frame. The lower front of the frame has a leaf-and-tongue molding just inside the sight edge.

The cornice is nailed to the top of the frame. The balls are attached to the cornice with heavy-gauge wire. The corbels, pilasters, capitals, bases, and blocks are applied to the front of the side frame members. The divider between the plates of glass is fitted into a slot cut into each side member. The reverse painting on glass is backed with a single horizontal board held in place with nails and the silvered glass is backed with two horizontal boards held in place with nails. The edge of a newspaper, a page of the Chicago Herald and Examiner, December 31, 1921, is visible just underneath the lower backing boards. Remnants of brown paper around the sides of the back suggest it was once fully covered in paper. A leather strap is tacked to the top center back of the frame. Hanging wires are tied to ring loops at the upper back of each side.

The reverse-painted glass panel (M-3882) was created by Carol Heinz and installed in this looking glass in 1995. The painting is based on William Birch’s c. 1801-1803 view of Mount Vernon. It is principally painted in gold and black with the sky and river painted blue. A pinkish tint appears on the horizon. The mansion appears on the bluff at proper left and the river on the proper right. A sailing ship cruises down the Potomac, a horse gallops into the distance at center, and two ladies observe a gentleman leading a horse in the proper left foreground.





Gilt, gesso, wood, glass


Overall (H x W x D): 44 1/4 in. × 26 3/4 in. × 4 3/4 in. (112.4 cm × 67.95 cm × 12.07 cm)
Other (Inside dimensions of mirror plate): 27 1/2 in. x 17 3/4 in. (69.85 cm x 45.09 cm)


Gift of Mrs. Norman R. Hanson, 1983

Object Number



Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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