John W. Forbes (American, 1781–1864)
Silver, glass, walnut
Overall 8 5/16 x 65 x 23 in. (21.1 x 165.1 x 58.7 cm), 21,999.5 grams (707.306 troy ounces)
Purchase, The AE Fund, Annette de la Renta, The Annenberg Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Goelet, John J. Weber, Dr. and Mrs. Burton P. Fabricand, The Hascoe Family Foundation, Peter G. Terian, and Erving and Joyce Wolf Gifts, and Friends of the American Wing Fund, 1993 (1993.167)
The mirrored table plateau, or centerpiece, was a French innovation, emulated elsewhere on the continent as well as in England. Few were made in America, although stylish individuals sometimes imported them to this country. The New York silversmith John W. Forbes produced this example in about 1825. It is believed to have been presented to Governor DeWitt Clinton by the citizens and state of New York following the completion of the Erie Canal. The plateau, which would have held table ornaments or dining accessories, is constructed with three mirrored sections and openwork die-stamped galleries ornamented with grapevines, winged lions, and urns. Each of the six pedestals has a cast and applied figure of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers; Pomona, the ancient Italian goddess of fruit trees; or American trophies. The pedestals are supported on cast lion's-paw feet and surmounted by spread-eagle finials. A similar plateau, also supplied by Forbes, is in the collection of the White House in Washington, D.C.