Cheval glass (psyché)

Maker:
Attributed to François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter (French, 1770–1841)
Date:
ca. 1810–14
Culture:
French, Paris
Medium:
Amboyna veneered on oak; gilt-bronze mounts; glass
Dimensions:
Overall: 86 x 48 5/8 x 31 5/8 in. (218.4 x 123.5 x 80.3 cm)
Classification:
Woodwork-Furniture
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1924
Accession Number:
24.230
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 553
The psyché was so named for the heroine in La Fontaine's Les amours de Psyché, who was reputed to have looked at a full-length reflection of herself. Specific reference to the myth is in the frieze containing butterflies, symbols of Psyche. An identical gilt-bronze frieze was on a psyché made for Empress Marie-Louise in 1810. The two winged fantastic creatures on the crest hold a wreath, which probably originally contained a decorative motif or monogram.
Guillaume de Gontaut-Biron, marquis de Biron (until 1914; sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1914, no. 391) ; [ Wildenstein and Co., Inc. , until 1924; sold to MMA ]