Looking Glass

Possibly made by James Reynolds, American, c. 1739 - 1794

Possibly made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America



Red pine, painted; silvered glass

47 5/8 x 23 1/2 x 2 3/8 inches (121 x 59.7 x 6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 286, American Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Alfred Bendiner, 1990

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This looking glass is one of a small group of ornately carved, rococo-inspired examples produced by Reynolds' workshop. While the majority of these looking glasses are thought to have originally been fully or partially gilded, this example survives with its original stone-colored surface undisturbed under layers of later partial gilding. By carefully taking minute samples of the decoration and examining them in cross-section under a microscope, furniture conservators have documented the layers of surface restoration and determined that the gilded and dark-bronze colored areas are modern additions. These later finishes will be carefully removed to uncover the original modeled gray and off-white painted surface. Evidence from the original surface of this looking glass frame can now be used as a more accurate basis for the restoration of other works by Reynolds that have incurred more radical, sometimes inappropriate, repairs and treatments.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.