The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Pier glass
  • Pier glass
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1840
  • Oak, birchwood, pear wood, première-partie Boulle marquetry, gilt bronze, turtleshell and glass
  • Height: 200.1 cm
    Width: 126.5 cm
  • Stamp: Crowned 'C'
    Inscription: 'Coté de la glace' In pencil
  • F51
  • Front State Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This pier glass is an intriguing example of the fashion for Boulle marquetry furniture in the mid-nineteenth century in both France and Britain. At the top of the mirror is an extremely fine gilt bronze mount of a female mask from c. 1700, finely cast and chased, but none of the other mounts match it in quality or weight and appear to be later cast; the Boulle marquetry is also a successful nineteenth-century pastiche of early-eighteenth-century marquetry. When this piece was being conserved in 1984, a fragment of a French newspaper, including the date 1837, was found under the turtleshell in the top right-hand corner, thus supporting the view that this is a nineteenth-century interpretation of eighteenth-century Boulle furniture. Since it was in the collection of the 12th Earl of Pembroke in c. 1844, where it was described as 'One fine Plate of Glass in a fine old Buhl frame', it must be an example of a successful attempt by either a cabinet-maker or more likely a dealer to pass off new work for old since by then it could not have been more than six or seven years old.