Looking glasses of this type are inspired by the elegant examples first produced in England during the 1760s. In the United States looking glasses were not fabricated in any quantity prior to the nineteenth century. Craftsmen were certainly available to take up the task, but glass manufacturers lacked the means to produce clear, smooth, silvered plates. The Bayou Bend pier glass belongs to a small group that may represent the collaboration of English and American craftsmen. Spruce and sylvestris pine, which was used as a secondary wood, are more consistent with English work; however, the presence of eastern white pine may attest to an American contribution. The pier glass may have been made in England from imported wood, or from trees that had been transplanted there. Alternatively, the glass and rectangular frame might have been made in England and, for the convenience of shipping and to avoid the possibility of damage, the ornaments were introduced in America.

Book excerpt: Warren, David B., Michael K. Brown, Elizabeth Ann Coleman, and Emily Ballew Neff. American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection. Houston: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Maker
English or American
Title
Pier Glass
Date
c. 1785–1820
Medium
Gilded spruce; eastern white pine, sylvestris pine, and composition
Dimensions
61 1/4 × 26 3/4 × 8 1/8 in. (155.6 × 67.9 × 20.6 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
B.21.2
Classification
Furniture
Provenance

Louis Guerineau Myers (1874–1932); consigned to [American Art Association, New York, February 24–26, 1921, lot 686]; purchased by Miss Ima Hogg, 1921; given to MFAH.