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Folk Art Shelf with Mirrors

Artist Name:

Price: Personal Collection

I fell in love with this piece when I laid eves on it. It was expensive as it is a true piece of folk art. Some believe it was made by Southern Black Folks. This extraordinary late 1800s-early 1900s folk art mirror is crafted from random bits of wood, mounted with scraps of mirror and colorfully decorated with crusty paint in lipstick red, forest green, white and silver. It measures 28” x 17 ½” wide x 6 ½” deep and takes the form of a gothic revival cottage complete with carved barge board containing a center shelf with carved bracket supports. The shelf features 3 lobed projections: the 2 larger are trimmed with a notch carved bent wood gallery. Underneath the shelf are 2 rectangular open compartments. The wood is mixed softwoods and the construction is round head lath nails which have been bent over on the back. I have shown this to several advanced collectors of American folk and they agree it is one-of-a-kind, but can only guess at its original function. There is wear, possibly associated with water, on the top of the shelves suggesting a shaving mirror or similar. The rounded areas may have been intended to hold flower pots. It may even have been intended as a shrine for two large chalkware statues and a smaller…the Holy Family? In any event, the piece is as found, untouched and grungy and fresh from a Northern Indiana collection. You will note minor chips and losses in the carving as well as losses in the bentwood galleries. The mirrors were clumsily cut and are of varying thicknesses with some rough edges showing inside the moldings. There is expected age spotting on the glass.