Pier Mirror (one of a pair)
Rococo Revival style, 1843
Baltimore; made by Samson Cariss (fl. 1842-1863)
Eliza Ridgely first sought to purchase large French looking glasses in the Rococo (then called "Modern French") taste in 1835, shortly after her return from an extended trip abroad that included several months' residence in Paris. She decided to acquire the mirrors locally and turned to the craftsman who succeeded Thomas Palmer, her previous source for such goods. This very large mirror, its mate, and the four matching window cornices were custom-made for Hampton's Drawing Room by Samson Cariss. He became the leading manufacturer of looking glasses in mid-19th century Baltimore. All the pieces bear the shield from the Ridgely family coat of arms, not the stag's head crest seen on many other pieces at Hampton. The date of 1843 was found when the mirrors were hung in Hampton's Drawing Room (after an absence of 59 years) in 2007. The inside of the back board, never previously visible, was examined and revealed the presence of several fragments of Baltimore newspaper dating from the summer of 1843 that had been used to patch small cracks in the board.
White pine, plaster, glass. H 243.8, W 183 cm
Hampton National Historic Site, HAMP 1225