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Artist: Maker unknown (England)

Date: c. 1815
Medium: Glass with gilt wood frame
Overall: 57 x 44in. (144.8 x 111.8cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 60.71
Label Text
In the first decades of the 19th-century, European and American furniture designers favored motifs from ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian design vocabulary. Most of these elements-griffins, eagles, serpents, dolphins, and other animals-derived from classical mythology. Their connotations were understood by the wealthy, educated possessors of this type of high-style furniture with its energetic representations of antiquity. Swans, which mythically pulled the chariot of the love goddess Venus and were also associated with the god Apollo, were a motif favored by the Empress Josephine of France, whose use of the black swan device no doubt popularized the imagery.