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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1675 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Veneered with princewood; probably fitted with the original glass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Maud Alford

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
The mirror is veneered with hardwood inset with geometric patterns. Rectangular mirrors of this type usually had a piece of ornamental carving along the top, known as a cresting. These rarely survive as they were often pierced and therefore vulnerable. The glass is of the correct thickness for this date, but the bevel may indicate that it is an 18th-century replacement.

If the glass is original, it may have come from the glassworks in Vauxhall, London, established by George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, in 1673.

Materials & Making
Princewood comes from the Spanish elm, Cordia gerascanthus, which grows in the West Indies and Central America. The wood is mentioned in the 1683 inventory of the contents of Ham House, Surrey, in which a desk was described as 'Prince wood garnished with Silver'. The centre of each convex side of the frame has a circular motif made up of 12 wedge-shaped pieces of oyster veneer.

Ownership & Use
Mirrors were luxury items and were often placed against the pier, or wall, between the windows. In this position, they were accompanied by a matching table and candlestands and maximised light by reflecting the candlelight.

Physical description

Mirror. Frame of Kingwood veneer enclosing original mirror plate. Rectangular convex frame, each of the four sides centered on a circular device with sectional geometrical particions in terms of wood figure.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1675 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Veneered with princewood; probably fitted with the original glass


Height: 96.5 cm, Width: 80 cm, Depth: 7.6 cm

Object history note

Possibly made in London.

Gifted by Mrs R G Alford.

Notes from R.P. 47/990

As "1 Mirror--Charles II--kingswood frame, English C.1675"

24/4/47 letter Mrs Alford to Edwards
offers the Museum a large square mirror, original glass in walnut with oyster shell inlay. She is uncertain of its date.

9/5/47 Condition
noted: Veneer cracked and one piece missing - also scratched.

10/5/47 R Edwards Minute paper
"This is an attractive Charles II mirror of kingswood, very rarely used on such a scale at that time".

Descriptive line

Mirror, kingwood veneer, convex frame; English, c. 1675

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This mirror frame is veneered with a hardwood imported from the West Indies and known at the time as princewood. The pattern of oval shapes is called oyster veneer. It was created by cutting smaller branches at an angle across the rich grain, making a shape like an oyster shell. [27/03/2003]


Kingwood; Mirror Glass


Furniture; Mirrors


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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