Gilt-Wood Pier Mirror with Elaborate Carved Corner Elements



Attributed to John H. Williams

New York, c. 1828-1832


The mirror divided 1/4-3/4, framed by a gilt-wood cove frame with elaborate carved foliate elements.


57½" x 30"


Condition: Excellent.  Retaining original mirror plate.

An identical pier mirror bearing the paper label of looking glass maker, John H. Williams, working at 345 Front Street, New York, is known. Williams begins to be listed as early as 1813 at 315 Pearl Street and is listed at this address as a "Looking glass store" as early as 1823. He continues to be listed as a looking glass store at this same Pearl Street address as late as 1840. It would seem that this mirror can be precisely dated to the four years that Williams briefly had a store on Front Street.

A related pier looking glass with similar carved foliate corner elements, possibly by Williams, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (Accession Number: 2001.25).

Pier mirrors were designed to be placed against narrow architectural piers between flanking windows or doors.  Typically, they would have a pier table below them, usually with a mirror plate forming the back of the pier table below the top.  This would create a virtually continuous column of mirror for the purpose of reflecting day or candle light into an otherwise dimly lighted room and would have the effect of making the pier table top appear to float out into the room.  The gilded frame of the mirror was also intended to have the same decorative and practical effect of reflecting light. 



Dealer Carswell Rush Berlin, Inc.
Date: c.1830
Origin New York
Measurements 57½" x 30"
Inventory View Dealer's Inventory
Contact Carswell R. Berlin, 646-645-0404 or

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