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Odd Fellows Shelf and Mirror

ca. 1850-1900 Attributed to John Haley Bellamy Born: Kittery, Maine 1836 Died: Portsmouth, New Hampshire 1914 carved and painted wood with mirrored glass 35 3/8 x 29 7/8 x 7 3/8 in. (89.8 x 75.8 x 18.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.84A-C Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 25B


Luce Center Label

This shelf was probably made for a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Organizations like the Freemasons and Odd Fellows often decorated objects with fraternal symbols to remind members of their commitment to the brotherhood. In this piece the three pillars and the three-link chain represent the Odd Fellows motto---"Friendship, Love, and Truth." Only members of the order understood the symbolism of the serpent, staff, horn, and tent.

Keywords

Emblem - Odd Fellows

decorative arts - furniture

folk art

glass

metal - iron

metal - nails

wood

About Attributed to John Haley Bellamy

Born: Kittery, Maine 1836 Died: Portsmouth, New Hampshire 1914

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Attributed to John Haley Bellamy