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Maker(s):Smith, George (fl. 1797-1820)
Culture:American
Title:pier glass
Date Made:1802-1805
Type:Furniture
Materials:wood: spruce, sylvestris pine (Scots pine), basswood; gilding, glass, gesso
Place Made:United States; Maryland; Baltimore
Measurements:overall: 80 in x 31 3/8 in x 4 in; 203.2 cm x 79.7 cm x 10.2 cm
Accession Number:  HD 72.005
Credit Line:Gift of George A. Cluett, Jr.
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
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Description:
Large Federal pier glass within wood and gesso frame with carved and molded composition ornament attributed to George Smith of Baltimore. The looking glass has a paper label attached to the backboard; the label, mostly destroyed, features the word "GLASS" within an oval border. The crest consists of an eagle with outspread wings on a foliate plinth centered between two urns holding composition wheat stalks on wire armatures. Two pairs of swags decorated with composition balls on wire armatures are afixed to the eagle's beak and attach at their other ends to the inner handles of the urns. The silvered glass is framed between two fluted columns capped with stylized compo capitals and compo paterae on the bases; the horizontal gray/blue painted panel above the glass is embellished with gilded compo ornaments of urn, festoons, and baskets of flowers. An architrave and frieze includes compo paterae, carved wood acanthus leaves, and a center panel with comp basket of fruit and flowers, tied oval, and a laurel wreath; the frame's edges are decorated with compo lamb's tongue leaf ornament, compo imbricated laurel leaf (top), and beading (bottom). George Alfred Cluett (1873-1955), of Troy, New York, and Williamstown, Massachusetts, collected American furniture from around 1901, shortly after he and Edith Tucker were married, through the mid-1920s. Cluett was prominent among early collectors. For the first museum exhibition of American furniture, The Hudson-Fulton Exhibition, opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1909, Cluett loaned 22 objects. Cluett, whose family business became Arrow Shirts, finished collecting before Henry Francis DuPont began to amass objects for what became the core of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. The Cluett family donated most of its collection to Historic Deerfield beginning in 1960, with its last gifts given in 2003. Cluett’s keen connoisseurship, focused on Classical objects (contemporary to his grandparents’ lives) is notable as he collected before the publication of the first seminal reference books on American antiques. Moreover, the early twentieth-century collectors focused on the so-called Pilgrim Century, which predates the Classical era by over one hundred years. Cluett was particularly intrigued by the work of craftsmen including Seymour, McIntire, Phyfe, and Lannuier. Cluett’s desire for privacy, and reverence for times past has long obscured his creative connoisseurship and legacy as one of the earliest and influential collectors of American furniture.

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+72.005

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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