Pair of Vases, 1861

  • Dorflinger Glass Works, American, 1852 - 1921

Cut lead crystal glass

  • Overall (each): 8 3/4 × 3 1/2 inches (22.2 × 8.9 cm)

Museum Purchase, Gibbs-Williams Fund


On View

  • American W293
  • American W293


American Art before 1950

  • Vase
  • Lead crystal glass
  • Vase, celery
  • New york
  • Eagle

The proud eagle, enclosed in an escutcheon, links these cut crystal vases to the extensive glass service commissioned for the Lincoln White House shortly after the president’s inaugural on 4 March 1861. Along with the crisp, copper-wheel engraving of the Great Seal of the United States, the design features a fine, diamond cut pattern on the lower half and a star cutting on the foot. With its balance of elegance and elaborate ornamentation, the design exemplifies the aesthetic of French-born and trained Christian Dorflinger, whose company, Greenpoint Flint Glass Works of Brooklyn, New York, produced deluxe, cut lead crystal table wares. Michigan timber baron Russell Alexander Alger purchased this pair shortly after the time of the White House commission, and the additional monogram—a large letter “A” with the smaller letters “R” and “A” twined around its lower legs—may commemorate his marriage to Annette H. Henry on 2 April. From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)

Inscribed, on side: [eagle with olive branch and arrows in talon] e pluribus unum Inscribed: RAA

Purchased by Russell Alexander Alger (1836-1907), probably shortly after his April 2, 1861 marriage to Annette H. Henry (Grand Rapids, Michigan) Their daughter, and eldest child, Fay Alger (d. 1927). Married W. E. Bailey (d. 1925) Their daughter, Annette Alger Bailey (d. 1951). Married Bayard Livingston Bell (March 1929, in Harrisburg, PA). [Note: Bayard Livingston Bell died of pneumonia in February 1933. Annette Alger Bailey Bell married John O. Lambrecht in 1938.] Their daughter, Mignon Alger Bell (b. December 23, 1930. d. 2006). Married Brodnax Cameron Jr. (d. 2006) in October 1952. Their daughter, Annette Brodnax (b. 1953). Married a Mr. Blum. [Sold at Auction, O’Neill’s Auction Company, 19 Newport Drive, Forest Hill, MD, 21050. September 13, 2009. Lot 503.] [Unidentified picker]

Dorflinger Glass Works, Pair of Vases, 1861, cut lead crystal glass. Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum Purchase, Gibbs-Williams Fund, 2010.20.