A CHIPPENDALE CARVED MAHOGANY LOOKING GLASS
A CHIPPENDALE CARVED MAHOGANY LOOKING GLASS

THE CARVING ATTRIBUTED TO JOHN POLLARD (1740-1787), PHILADELPHIA, 1770-1780

Details
A CHIPPENDALE CARVED MAHOGANY LOOKING GLASS
THE CARVING ATTRIBUTED TO JOHN POLLARD (1740-1787), PHILADELPHIA, 1770-1780
the phoenix finial later
44 in. high, 23 1/4 in. wide
Provenance
Possibly the Wistar family, Philadelphia
Agnes Lisle (Brown) Leach (1884-1975) and her husband Henry Goddard Leach (1880-1970)
Israel Sack, Inc., New York
Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Hansen, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Mr. and Mrs. Bertram D. Coleman, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Sold, Christie’s, New York, Mr. and Mrs. Bertram D. Coleman, 16 January 1998, lot 260
Literature
William MacPherson Hornor, Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (Washington D.C., 1935), pl. 451.
Luke Beckerdite, “American Rococo Looking Glasses: From Maker’s Hand to Patron’s Home,” American Furniture 2009, Luke Beckerdite, ed. (Milwaukee, 2009), pp. 9, 10, figs. 10, 11.
Luke Beckerdite, “Pattern Carving in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia,” American Furniture 2014, Luke Beckerdite, ed. (Milwaukee, 2014), p. 129, figs. 91, 92.

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Lot Essay

Delicate, fluid and finely modeled, the garlands on the sides of this looking glass are exquisite survivals of the work of master carver John Pollard (1740-1787). As discussed in the three preceding lots, Pollard trained in London and by 1765 had immigrated to Philadelphia where he became the principal carver in Benjamin Randolph’s cabinet shop and executed some of the most elaborate and prestigious commissions of his day. Attributed to Pollard working in the 1770s by Luke Beckerdite, this looking glass may have been made while the carver was still employed by Randolph, or after he set up his own business, a partnership with Richard Butts which was first advertised in 1773. As noted by Beckerdite, the garlands closely relate to two other examples of Pollard’s work; both date from 1770-1771, possibly indicating a similar date for this looking glass and its production in Randolph’s shop. These related examples comprise the garlands from the parlor of Thomas Ringgold’s house in Chestertown, Maryland (now installed as the Chestertown Room at the Baltimore Museum of Art) and similar passages from a chimney back (dated 1770) from Batsto Furnace in Burlington County, New Jersey (fig. 1) (Luke Beckerdite, “American Rococo Looking Glasses: From Maker’s Hand to Patron’s Home,” American Furniture 2009, Luke Beckerdite, ed. (Milwaukee, 2009), p. 10, fig. 11; Luke Beckerdite, “Pattern Carving in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia,” American Furniture 2014, Luke Beckerdite, ed. (Milwaukee, 2014), p. 129, figs. 91, 92).

Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Goddard Leach when it was published by William MacPherson Hornor in 1935, this looking glass may have descended from the Wistar family. Mrs. Leach, née Agnes Lisle Brown (1884-1975) was a direct descendant of Caspar Wistar (1696-1752) and several other eighteenth-century Philadelphia-made items owned by the couple and illustrated by Hornor are noted to have descended along the Wistar-Brown-Leach family lines. Interestingly, one of these items is a side chair from a larger set made for the Wistar family with carving attributed to Pollard and backs identical in design to the Deshler chairs in the two preceding lots. It is possible that this looking glass was part of a larger order of furniture carved by Pollard for the Wistar family in the 1770s. A possible first owner is Caspar’s son and Mrs. Leach’s great great grandfather, Richard Wistar (1727-1781) who in 1776 married secondly Mary Bacon (b. 1733). See William MacPherson Hornor, Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (Washington D.C., 1935), pls. 106, 286, 356 and pp. 98, 181; Christie’s, New York, Property from the Collection of Mrs. J. Insley Blair, 21 January 2006, lot 535.

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