Brass Foliate Filigree Rondell Mirror
Attributed to M. B. Allebach (1859-1900)
Philadelphia c. 1884
In the late 1800s, Mahlon Boyer Allebach was one of Philadelphia’s most esteemed silversmiths and boasted an “enviable reputation for the superiority of his work.” Though best known in his time as a watchmaker and jeweler, Allebach expanded his repertoire in the 1870s to include fine residential and commercial accessories, such as mirrors like the present example.
The frame’s delicate, floral and foliate patterned filigree is identical to that of an unmarked, brass, mirrored sconce featured in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s 2005 book, A Brass Menagerie, as well as another mirrored sconce and a brass mirror (both in private collections), the latter of which is impressed “M.B. ALLEBACH/PHIL’A” on the reverse. According to R.S. Dunmore’s Historical and Commercial Philadelphia, Allebach had been in business since 1859, but did not establish the M.B. Allebach firm until c. 1884; it is likely that he did not mark his wares “M.B. Allebach” prior to that date.