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 took this bracket and its mate to Mount Vernon, where they were hung in the New Room. Martha Washington bequeathed them to her grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, who used them at Arlington House.

See also W-1181/A-B and W-2540/A-B.


Carved and gilded wall bracket with a half-round or demilune shelf with a swag of berries and foliage hung from the front 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 swag of gilt, gesso, and wire berries loops in front of the bracket and hangs down straight on each side.

The shelf is screwed to the top of the T-form supports.


c. 1791




Gilt, gesso, white pine, wire, iron


Overall (H x W x D): 15 3/4 in. x 12 1/4 in. x 9 in. (40.01 cm x 31.12 cm x 22.86 cm)

31.1 cm40 cm22.9 cm

* Object size compared to a tennis ball

Credit Line

Gift of George Washington Custis Lee, 1908

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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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