This looking glass may have been among the “Brackets glasses etc” purchased by George Washington on March 16, 1791 from carver and gilder James Reynolds. They likely graced the Green Drawing Room of the presidential manse in Philadelphia. Mounted on a wall behind an oil lamp supported on a wall bracket, their reflections illuminated evening entertainments, including the Friday “drawing rooms” hosted by Mrs. Washington. At the conclusion of his presidency, Washington presented this glass and its mate, along with a pair of brackets and lamps, to Elizabeth Powel, widow of mayor Samuel Powel, as a “token of his respectful and affectionate remembrance.”
See also the ornamental brackets, W-2540/A-B and W-57/B-C.
Vertical, oval looking glass in a carved and gilded ogee-molded frame, beaded along the inner edge, with a neoclassical, carved and gilded crest or finial affixed to the top. The crest or finial consists of branches of flowers and ears of wheat emerging from a small vase atop a wide-mouthed urn mounted on a small, three-leaved, upward-facing acanthus ornament atop a large, three-leaved, downward-facing acanthus ornament that is attached to the top of the frame. Five gilt drops, two teardrops on the ends and three diamonds across the center, hang from the front of the urn. Floral vines of gilded composition ornament on wires are suspended from floral medallions at the sides of the urn finial. They loop around oval, floral medallions secured to the wall and then connect to the upper part of the frame at the base of the acanthus ornament.
The joints of the frame are reinforced with metal braces screwed along the sides.
Yellow poplar (frame), Atlantic white cedar (backing board), gilt, gesso, glass
Overall: 50 in. x 16 1/2 in. (127 cm x 41.91 cm)
Purchased with funds donated by Mrs. Albert Harkness, Regent and Vice Regent for Rhode Island, in memory of her husband, Thomas I. Powel, 1940
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