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Maker(s):Sargeant, Henry
Culture:American (1796-1864)
Title:looking glass
Date Made:ca. 1820
Materials:glass, wood: white pine, gilding, gesso
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Springfield
Measurements:overall: 40 1/4 in x 21 1/2 in; 102.235 cm x 54.61 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2009.30
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Minor Antiques
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Looking glass retailed by Henry Sargeant (1796-1864) with printed paper label glued to the backboard: "LOOKING/GLASS/FACTORY./H. SARGEANT,/ MAIN STREET,/Opposite the/SPRINGFIELD HOTEL." Water-gilded split turnings are glued to the gilded sides, top and bottom of the frame's face between corner blocks affixed with applied molded plaster foliate gilded decorations. Molded plaster foliate gilded decorations are also applied to all four outside corners. Separated from the lower tablet with a molded muntin, the upper tablet is washed with cream paint and set at its center with an applied, gilded molded plaster vignette of Hercules on horseback slaying the Erymanthian boar (Hercules' 4th of 12 Labors), the details of which are picked out in red and green paint that appears original. The lower mirrored glass tablet appears original.

Label Text:
Springfield experienced rapid growth at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Newly arrived tradesmen, such as the brothers Jacob Sargeant (1761-1843, a clockmaker), and Thomas Sargeant (1773-1834, a jeweler), both from Connecticut, established shops in town. In 1820, Thomas brought his son, Henry Sargeant (1796-1864), into the jewelry business. Henry expanded their line of goods to include looking glasses, which he probably purchased wholesale from his cousin, Joseph Sargeant (1798-1875), and labeled with his own name and shop location.

Henry’s cousin, Joseph Sargeant (1798-1875), apparently moved to Springfield from Connecticut as a young man and opened a “Looking-Glass Manufactory” in a rented 2nd floor loft, where he made “GILT LOOKING-GLASSES…in the most elegant style and of the newest patterns,” according to an advertisement he placed in a March 1820 issue of the Hampden Federalist and Public Journal. He particularly pitched his wares to “merchants who wish to purchase [and] sell again,” such as Thomas and Henry Sergeant. In 1837, Joseph moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he established a looking glass factory.


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