Dressing Glass and Box


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 747

Like their European counterparts, aspiring American colonists were intensely focused on their appearance, and adorned themselves in imported textiles, millinery, jewelry, footwear, and cosmetics. This interest in personal image led to the development of specialized furniture to assist in the rituals of self-fashioning. Dressing boxes with looking glasses—particularly with the bombé or swelled base like you see here—were common in England, but rarely made in North America before 1800. The bold scalloping of the frame’s crest and the dancing, flame-like appearance of the carved, gilded leafage at the center reveal the rococo taste popular at the time.

Dressing Glass and Box, Walnut, walnut veneer, white pine; mirror glass; brass, American

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