Pair Fern Wall Brackets, about 1850–80
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), with wire armature and composition ornament, gessoed and gilded
14 1/8 in. high, 16 5/16 in. wide (at the shelf), 9 5/8 in. deep (at the shelf)
Although ferns became an important decorative device during the Aesthetic period in the 1880s, other decorative naturalistic elements in the present brackets suggest that they could date as early as 1850, which is further indicated by the fact that they are made much in the manner of Neo-Classical brackets of yet a generation earlier.
The date notwithstanding, the brackets are of exceptional quality and, despite the delicacy of their individual components, they have survived in extremely fine condition.
The wood identification was done by wood technologist Harry A. Alden, Alden Identification Service, Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.