An Elegant Gilded Wood and Gesso Tabernacle Looking Glass

1088.  AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN TABERNACLE LOOKING GLASS
Probably Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1800-1815
 
DESCRIPTION: This elegant gilded wood and gesso tabernacle looking glass is a rare, important size. The exceptionally bold and complex cornice retains each original spherule. Double pillars enclosing a spiral flank the glass. The original untouched eglomise is skillfully executed in gilt on a white background. It depicts a highly detailed pastoral landscape with a water mill, various types of trees, and two people. Animals rest in a shelter. A fine house is visible in the background. The enchanting scene is surrounded by placid water.
 
This looking glass represents an important time in American history when for the first time our young nation was capable of producing a fine mirror instead of having to import large plates of glass. This piece required the skills of multiple artisans: a cabinetmaker, gilder, artist, and glazier. Thus, it actually represents many antiques in one single piece. A fine looking glass would have most likely been commissioned for a household of wealth and stature. The Boston elite often presented a bridal couple with a mirror like this.
 
MATERIALS: Gilded wood and gesso. Wood appears to be white pine. Eglomise or reverse painted scene on glass plate surmounting mirror. Single large mirrored glass plate.
 
DIMENSIONS: Extreme Height: 50 1/2"      Extreme Width: 35"
 
CONDITION: Exceptionally fine condition with original untouched eglomise with virtually no loss, excellent gilt surface with desirable patina, original mirrored glass resilvered, and original backboard.
 
REFERENCES: Sack, Volume III, page 777, P3405, page 847, P2128; Sack, Volume V, page 1239, P4116.
 
REPAIRS: Very minor gilt conservation. Glass resilvered in 1941.

(additional photos below)

An Elegant Gilded Wood and Gesso Tabernacle Looking Glass (detail)

An Elegant Gilded Wood and Gesso Tabernacle Looking Glass (detail)

 
 
 
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