American scenery emerged as a powerful national symbol In a number of inventive forms. Topographical paintings like Francis Guy's view of Baltimore celebrated both local and national pride on a grand scale. Such views also functioned in miniature: here an assemblage of scenic icons (based on prints published in 1840 in the illustrated volume American Scenery) decorates a metal tabletop, offering a picturesque tour of major cities and rural vistas in orbit around an image of the national Capitol.
Table, cast iron with painted polychrome decoration, circular top, vase-shaped acanthus pedestal, four ogee acanthus supports rise from pedestal to top, three scrolled acanthus legs with casters. Top painted with views of America in oval reliefs framed in gold and forming a circle. Views are: Albany; Harper's Ferry, VA; Tomb of Kosciusko; Mount Tom and the Connecticut River; Mount Vernon; and Faneuil Hall, Boston. Alternating with views are smaller oval reliefs framed in gilt depicting steam ships, classical temple, Indian hunting, Indian in canoe, and female allegorical figures of America. In center is a circular relief framed in gilt with view of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Gilt filigree is surrounding views with black background. Gilt filigree along edge of top. The views are derived from engravings based on drawings by William H. Bartlett which illustrate "American Scenery," by N. P. Willis, Esq., published in 1840. Condition: Good and sturdy. Small chip of gilt missing from frame of capitol view. Minor restoration of sky in capitol view. Title of Mount Tom and the Connecticut River view retouched. Some restoration to shy in that view. Scratch beneath Mount Vernon view, chips in gilt along edge of top. Minor chips throughout top have been filled in. Some minor re-gilding. Paint crezzled throughout top. Pedestal, legs, and supports have been painted black, but gilding shows through in spots. See conservation report on file.