Cheval glass (psyché)

Maker: Attributed to François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter (French, 1770–1841)

Date: ca. 1810–14

Culture: French, Paris

Medium: Amboyna veneered on oak; gilt-bronze mounts; glass

Dimensions: Overall: 86 x 48 5/8 x 31 5/8 in. (218.4 x 123.5 x 80.3 cm)

Classification: Woodwork-Furniture

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1924

Accession Number: 24.230


The psyché was so named for the heroine in La Fontaine's Les amours de Psyché, who was reputed to have looked at a full-length reflection of herself. Specific reference to the myth is in the frieze containing butterflies, symbols of Psyche. An identical gilt-bronze frieze was on a psyché made for Empress Marie-Louise in 1810. The two winged fantastic creatures on the crest hold a wreath, which probably originally contained a decorative motif or monogram.