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Mirror

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1745 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lock, Matthias Sr (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and gilded pine

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs F. E. Rhodes

  • Museum number:

    W.8-1960

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 53, case WW

Object Type
From the late 17th century, it became customary to fix a mirror on each pier wall separating the windows to reflect the light of the candles (supported by matching candlestands). The mirror was often accompanied by a matching table, as with this example.

People
This mirror was made for John, 2nd Earl Poulett (1708-1764), for the Tapestry Room at Hinton House, Hinton St George, Somerset. The Mr Wood who was paid for 15 hours work on the mirror may be Alexander or Stephen Wood, both of whom worked in London's Southwark district as looking-glass makers in the 1720s.

Design & Designing
The design of the mirror was inspired by contemporary French prints engraved by Jacques-Gabriel Huquier (1695-1772) after Jacques de Lajoue (1687-1761) which were published in 1737 as Livres de Bordures d'ecrans … la Chinois. Similar scroll-caryatid figures feature in Matthias Lock's own designs for Six Sconces published in 1744. The original sketch for this mirror shows that the joint between the panels of mirror glass was concealed by garlands of flowers suspended from the rabbit's head above. The sketch is inscribed '138 Days in all / Lock 20 / Lomar 40 / Wood 15 / Loo 14 the other by &c / Charged for Carving £34 10s 0d / for Joyneurs & stuf £1 15s od / A Large Sconc in the Taptstrey Roome'.

Physical description

Mirror, carved, gilded wood, extremely ornate. Bold carved and gilded wood mirror surmounted by a tasselled canopy over a shell and hare head with C-scroll and acanthus leaf motif on either side. The right hand side bears a female caryatid (Ceres or Proserpine possibly) crowned with a bountiful fruit basket. Her body is based on an S-scroll decorated with leaves which looks not unlike a harp. Beneath her is a C-scroll quiver full of hunting weapons which point out of the mirror. This turns into clam shell detailing (facing inwards) in which we see a sunflower from the centre of which leaps a hound. The external, bottom corner both have a dolphin motif. At the centre base of the mirror is the floral and feathered nest of two mythical birds who are protecting their eggs. The left side of the mirror has the same hound and sunflower motif leading up to the same quiver of hunting weapons but above this the S-scroll becomes an atlantes (a male caryatid). He wears an acorn bell on a chain and has a collar of acanthus on a costume of leaves. He is bearded and has a leaf head-dress (possibly Pan or the Green Man). Again he is surmounted by a bountiful fruit basket.

Analysis of paint and gilding layer stratification on this pier glass and the pier table, W.35-1964, carried out by Pascale Patris, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, December 2003; report in curatorial file for W.8-1960

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1745 (made)

Artist/maker

Lock, Matthias Sr (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved and gilded pine

Dimensions

Height: 261.6 cm, Width: 127 cm

Object history note

Designed and made in London by Matthias Lock (born in London, about 1710, died there in 1765)

Descriptive line

Pier Glass, from Hinton House,des. M.Lock, English, 1745

Labels and date

W.8-1960 and W.35-1964

MIRROR AND SIDE-TABLE
ENGLISH; about 1745
Carved wood, bronzed and gilded, the top of the table veneered with onyx

From the Tapestry Room at Hinton House, Somerset, and designed by Matthias Lock for the second Earl Poulett. The original design (shown alongside) shows that it took eighty-nine days to make the table, and cost £22 - 5s - 5d for the joiner and £21 for the carving. Lock worked on it for fifteen days, the remainder being done by his assistants. The design for the mirror shows that it took one hundred and thirty days' work and cost £36 - 5s; Lock worked on it for twenty days. Lock was an exceptionally capable draughtsman who understood the Rococo idiom more fully than any other English furniture designer.

The table was given by Mrs. F.E. Rhodes. [pre October 2000]
British Galleries:
Matthias Lock designed this mirror and table as a set with two candlestands, to go between a pair of windows. Such a set was a traditional form but Lock added newly fashionable motifs. The mirror was still symmetrical and large in scale, showing little of the lightness and asymmetry of Rococo. [27/03/2003]

Subjects depicted

Flowers (plants); Weapons; C-scrolls; S-scrolls; Birds; Dog (animal); Atlantes; Fruit; Hare; Quivers; Classicism; Caryatids; Shells; Dolphin (animal); Acanthus

Categories

Images Online; Woodwork; British Galleries; Household objects; Mirrors

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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