Pier Glass

Unidentified maker, probably Albany, NY
Date: 1806-1815; crest, 1875-1900
Maker: Unidentified maker, probably Albany, NY
Dimensions: 86 1/2 H x 30 7/8 W
Materials: Eastern white pine, yellow pine, and eastern hemlock with gilding and inset églomisé glass panels and mirrored glass
Credit: Gift of the Estate of Catherine Gansevoort Lansing
Accession Number: 1919.4.10
One of the finest American looking glasses (mirrors) from the early nineteenth century, this example's large gilded frame and églomisé (reverse-painted) panels would have made it the focal point of any interior. It was intended to hang on a pier between the windows of a room, so it would function as an additional "window." Note how its cornice (the top of the main mirror frame) resembles cornices on window and door frames. The elaborate crest with eagle and flags was added later in the nineteenth century, made possibly by the Albany firm of Annesley and Vint. The architectural character of this frame was inspired by the neoclassical style of the early nineteenth century, a taste that preferred the simplified forms of the classical to the fanciful ornament of the rococo and Adamesque styles of the later eighteenth century. After the Revolutionary War, once prohibitively expensive elaborate looking glasses were sought by the newly rich merchant classes.