Oval Federal Mirror, about 1800
American, probably New England
Pine and iron wire, gessoed and gilded, with compo ornament and mirror
25 1/2 in. high, 14 1/2 in. wide
EXHIBITED: Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 2001–02, Of the Newest Fashion: Masterpieces of American Neo-Classical Decorative Arts, p. 88 cat. 1
This diminutive mirror is distinguished by the richness of the delicate and highly-decorative compo ornaments which encircle the oval mirror plate. Surmounted by sprays of corn, which spring from a sheaf rising from a fluted urn, the coiled wire arms of which terminate in flower-heads and are festooned with a pair of garlands which drop down the full length of the mirror plate, gathering at the base in a complex motif centered with another stylized flower-head from which issue acanthus leaves, this mirror boldly and unashamedly shows off much of the Neo-Classical vocabulary of the Federal period.