In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy expressed her “deepest appreciation” to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for the loan of this looking glass to the White House as a part of the campaign to refurnish it with historically significant antiques. This may not have been the first occasion upon which it graced the halls of state. According to family tradition, it once hung in the executive mansion in Philadelphia during George Washington’s presidency. It is one of two mirrors with a Washington association that descended in the Peale family. See also W-291.
Vertical, rectangular, scrolled pediment looking glass with gilded wood and metal spreadwing eagle-on-ball finial, its head facing the viewer’s right, atop the arched central plinth of a veneered frame with crosseted upper corners, scrolled lower corners shaped like trusses, and a stepped lunette and ogee base, all outlined with applied, gilded, egg-and-dart-carved molding. The pediment or crest features carved and gilded floral rosettes or medallions, an applied cornice of acanthus superimposed on fluted reeds and an egg-and-dart molding separated by an ogee, and an egg-and-dart molding above a plain frieze with rounded ends. At the inside edge of the trusses or scrolls, an applied, gilded, acanthus leaf rises from the molding. The shaped sight edge, accented by gilded, leaf-and-tongue-carved molding, features indented upper corners.
The veneered faces of the lower frame are mitered together at the corners. The crest appears to be a single board glued to the sides’ upper extensions. This joint is reinforced by a set of three horizontal glue blocks. The base appears to extend from the frame. The lower trusses or scrolls glued to the frame’s sides are each a single piece and are reinforced with vertical braces. The backboard is a single piece of particle board nailed to the back of the frame.
Walnut veneer (primary), gilt, gesso, glass
Overall (H x W x D): 57 1/2 in. x 29 1/2 in. x 17 1/2 in. (146.05 cm x 74.93 cm x 44.45 cm)
Purchased with funds donated by the Detroit Mount Vernon Society, 1891
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