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  • Place of origin:

    Dublin (City) (almost certainly, made)

  • Date:

    1750-1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Booker, Francis (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and gilded wood

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the British Antique Dealers' Association, through The Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case WN

Object Type
The mirror combines both Palladian and Rococo features. The former include the swan-necked pediment, the composite capitals (in which Ionic volutes are combined with the features of a Corinthian capital), the Vitruvian scroll frieze (with repeated volutes) at the base and a Venus mask set in a shell at the apron. These architectural features are inspired by the work of the British architect James Gibbs (1682-1754). The lively Rococo detail includes the asymmetrical, eagle-mounted lion cartouche at the top and the shell-like foliage brackets beneath the columns.

Francis and John Booker succeeded to the family business when their father John died in 1749. The elder John Booker was working as a 'Looking Glass merchant' when he married early in 1711 or 1712. In 1728 he was described as a 'glass-grinder'. The brothers are listed in the Dublin trade directories from 1761 until 1772.

Ownership & Use
The fleurs-de-lis in the foliage in the upper frieze (in the upper corners) may provide a clue to the original owners of the mirror. This heraldic flower features in the crest of Edward Clifford of Castle Annesley, Co. Wexford.

Physical description

Mirror in a frame of carved and gilded wood. At the top is a 'broken' pediment with escutcheon composed of a piereced double shell, an eagle displayed and a lion's head and paws. The pediment finishes in whorls composed of rosettes and acanthus: it has pendants of fruit on the edges. The frieze is carved with a basket containing flowers and fruit, which are prolonged throughout its length. It is supported on two fluted columns with Corinthian capitals and at the edges are pendants of fruit and flowers. The mirror plate is framed in mouldings mitred at the angles and carved with egg and tongue and gadroons. The columns rest on a wide moulding, carved with a wave pattern. Below are two acanthus consoles and a large pendant having a female mask back by a shell in the centre.

Place of Origin

Dublin (City) (almost certainly, made)


1750-1760 (made)


Booker, Francis (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved and gilded wood


Height: 236 cm, Width: 125 cm

Object history note

Almost certainly made in the workshops of Francis (died in Dublin, 1773) and John (died in Dublin, 1789) Booker, Essex Bridge, Dublin

Descriptive line

Mirror, carved and gilded wood, palladian, Irish, 1725-1730

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The influence of Palladianism spread rapidly to countries under British rule. In Ireland the style was keenly developed over a long period. This mirror was almost certainly made in the workshops of Francis and John Booker in Dublin, whose label is found on several similar mirrors. They specialised as mirror merchants, importing glass from Normandy, France. [27/03/2003]


Wood; Mirror glass; Gilt




Furniture; Mirrors


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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