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Mirror

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1685 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Marquetry of walnut and other woods; cresting reduced

  • Museum number:

    W.42-1911

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case WN

Object Type
Mirrors were often placed over a table and flanked by torchères (stands for lighted candles) or vases of flowers during the daytime. The reflection from the mirror increased the effectiveness of the candlelight. Being highly prestigious pieces of furniture, they were surmounted with elaboratedly decorated crests during the 17th century, but these were often removed by owners and dealers in later periods.

Time
Since about 1618 various attempts were made to create monopolies for producing looking glasses. However, Venice dominated this luxury market in Britain until 1673, when George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628-1687) established works in Vauxhall, south London. The diarist and collector John Evelyn (1620-1706) claimed that Vauxhall mirrors were 'far larger and better than any that come from Venice'.

Materials & Making
The moulding and crest of this mirror frame is decorated with marquetry of walnut and other woods.

Physical description

Mirror in frame of marquetry of various woods. Rectangular mirror in convex frame surmounted by a semi-circular pediment. The frame is decorated with sprays of flowers and birds, with shells at the angles; the pediment is decorated with a vase of flowers. The glass is bevelled.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1685 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Marquetry of walnut and other woods; cresting reduced

Dimensions

Height: 3.5 in, Width: 2.3 in

Object history note

Frame made in England; the glass probably English

Marquetry mirror purchased from Gill & Reigate Ltd

Notes from R.P. 1911/1506M

15/3/11 letter to Clifford Smith from Gill & Reigate
offers "the marqueterie bulged frame mirror" at £38-10-0.

16/3/11 Minute paper note of Clifford Smith
states that the mirror "is an attractive specimen of English marquetry" and notes that the price was £70 but it is offered to the Museum for £38-10-0.

20/3/11 Objects submitted on Approval for Purchase form
lists "1. Walnut and marquetry Queen Anne mirror (chipped, damaged & repaired)".
From Messrs Gill & Reigate Ltd for £38-10.

Minute paper excerpt from 11/2639 added here to Reg. No. 11/1506M lists:
"16 Messrs Gill & Reigate. A Queen Anne mirror of walnut and marquetry, with elaborate floral design; an unusually good specimen of English work of the kind, dating from the last years of the 17th century. The bevelled glass plate is also original and well restored. This would be a very useful addition to the collection, and the price is very reasonable".

Descriptive line

Mirror, frame of marquetry of various woods, English, late 17th century

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Imported glass mirrors had always been a luxury in Britain. From 1673 the Duke of Buckingham's works in Vauxhall, south London was making glass said to be 'far larger and better than any that come from Venice'. The soft bevelled edge and thinness of the glass indicate that this is probably original. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Frame made in England; the glass probably English

Materials

Walnut; Material; Mirror glass

Techniques

Marquetry

Categories

Furniture; British Galleries; Mirrors

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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