Looking glass, ca. 1760
Photo courtesy of Bernard &...
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Photo courtesy of Bernard & S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York

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The glass may be the one referred to in Franklin's fragmentary letter to his wife from London, August 1765: "Let me have the Breadth of the Pier, that I may get a handsome Glass for the Parlour...Also the Dimensions of the Windows for which you would have me bring Curtains, unless you Chuse to have the Curtains made there." In an earlier letter (February 14, 1765), he wrote: "The blue Mohair Stuff (fabric) is for the Curtains of the Blue Chamber. The fashion is to make one Curtain only for each Window." The inventory taken at his death reflects that, since it lists "Glass & Curtains" as a single entry in the Parlour, and "Looking Glass Curtains & Shades" in the Blue Room. Consultation with furnishings historian Gail Winkler confirmed that such a single-line entry is not unique; it was used to describe a looking glass flanked by a pair of curtained windows.

The glass descended in a branch of the Bache family until acquired by the dealer, then known as Ginsburg and Levy, now (2006) Bernard and S. Dean Levy. According to Frank S. Levy, it was purchased through an unknown negotiator in the 1950's. There are no further records of that first purchase. The firm bought it back from that buyer, and sold it again. Note that there was a purchase of Franklin family objects by Ginsburg and Levy in 1941 from Horace Jayne, whose wife was a Franklin descendant. This looking glass is not listed among objects acquired at that sale.
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