Mirror Mirror on the Wall... A Selection of Antique Mirrors at Reindeer Antiques

22-03-2014

At Reindeer Antiques we have a wide selection of antique mirrors in various shapes and sizes. An antique mirror would make the perfect addition to any home, whether you are looking for a large overmantle mirror for a hallway or living room, or a small elegant toilet mirror for a bedroom.

Originally mirror glass was made through the 'broad' process whereby blown cylinders of glass were slit open, flattened out and polished, and the backs were then silvered with mercury. Until the late 18th Century, mirror glass was notoriously expensive to produce due to large taxes and as it was quite a tempermental process mirrors tended to be quite small in size. When buying an antique mirror it is important to find out if it has the original mirror plate as this will increase its value.

 

This Queen Anne antique cushion mirror is a great example as it still retains its original mirror plate and the large rectangular piece of glass suggests this was a piece of the highest quality when it was made. The 'cushion frame' mirror was quite fashionable towards the end of the 17th Century and refers to the rectangular frame with a broad ovolo section which encloses the antique mirror plate.

Pier glasses and overmantle mirrors rose in popularity throughout the 17th Century. It became commonplace to put mirrors between windows, often with matching console tables and torcheres; this arrangement is known as a triad. The taste for gilt on mirror frames soon began to develop and candles were normally placed in front of these gilt mirrors so they would catch and intensify the light.

By the 1750s there was a great innovation in the manufacture of mirror glass. Molten glass was now poured out onto a bed of hot metal and rolled, this was a much more stable process. There was less waste material and new shapes such as the oval could be experimented with. During the Chippendale period mirror frames become more decorative with elaborate Rococo carving of foilage, scrolls, and ho-ho birds.

The 18th Century and the Regency period saw an increase in the various shapes, types and styles of antique mirrors, including overmantle mirrors, pier glasses, toilet mirrors and convex mirrors.

Feel like a Queen at her 'toilette' putting on their make-up with this lovely toilet mirror! Fashionable since the early Georgian period, toilet mirrors often had bases and sat on top of antique chests of drawers. This is a fine Irish Sheraton revival mahogany oval toilet mirror. The fall is veneered in flame mahogany and feather banded, standing on ogee bracket feet. Unusually it retains its maker's mark label for M. Butler, 26 and 27 Upper Abbey St., Dublin to the reverse

Finally, we have the antique convex mirror which is very typical of the Regency period. Antique Regency convex mirrors vary in size, although they are rare you can find exceptionally large ones. Often the detailing on the mirror frame is carved out of wood to give an extra crispness and sharpness and they tend to be surmounted with an eagle. This is a brilliant example of an antique convex mirror, carved in giltwood and bronzed, the mirror plate is set within a reeded and acanthus carved frame with an eagle above and an acanthus leaf apron. Interestingly it bears the label to the reverse for Ackermann and Co who were specialist carvers and gilders in London between 1796-1840.

 

Author: Caroline McCaffrey