image of object
Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., 1956.94.5
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Looking glass

Object number



Maker, formerly attributed to John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809
Maker, probably by James Stokes, American, 1755–1831


41 7/8 21 1/2 1 1/4 in. (106.363 54.61 3.175 cm)



Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library


Probably made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formerly said to have been made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany veneer; Atlantic white cedar (frame, backboard); white pine group (backing of base, glue blocks)


"Made by / John Townsend / Newport" printed and "17__" inscribed in ink in lower right corner on paper label glued to backboard. This label has been determined to be a fake. Source: Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker (New York, 2005), pp. 64, 71, fn.13.


Harry Arons (1891–1967), Ansonia and later Bridgeport, Connecticut; sold to the Winterthur Museum, Delaware, 1956

Associated names

Harry Arons


The stiles are rails of the basic framework and are lapped and pegged at the corners. The veneered crest, base, and outward flaring side pieces are butted and glued to the frame, the joints reinforced on the back with glue blocks: three long vertical braces and two small horizontal blocks on the crest; one long and two short vertical braces and two horizontal blocks on the base; and large triangular blocks behind each side piece. The mirror opening, framed with applied, mitered picture molding, has a patterned and gilded composition liner; the gilding has been executed over a reddish brown bole or sizing. Applied facings finish the side edges between the side pieces. The backboard is made of three horizontal butted or bevel-lapped boards. Source: Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur, (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 462.


The label of John Townsend on this looking glass is now believed to be fake. The looking glass is most similar to those labeled by Philadelphia looking glass maker James Stokes (ca.1755–1831). See, for instance, the example at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 1994.421. Source: Martha Willoughby, notes to lot 588, Christie's, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver, New York, January 20, 2017.

See also


Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 461–462, no. 212, ill.
Charles F. Hummel, "Queen Anne and Chippendale Furniture in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Part III.," Antiques 99, no. 1 (January 1971): 101, fig. 6–7.
John A. H. Sweeney, The Treasure House of Early American Rooms (New York: Viking Press, 1963), 52–53.
Herbert F. Schiffer, The Mirror Book (Exton: Schiffer Publishing Limited, 1983), 161, fig. 407, 408.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 64, 71n13.