A MASSIVE PAIR OF REGENCY GILTWOOD & GREY PAINTED CONVEX MIRRORS

June 16 2009, 11:28am

English. Circa 1810. One of the earliest and best-known depictions of a convex mirror occurs in the Arnolfini Wedding Portrait by Jan Van Eyck’s 1434 (National Gallery, London). To make a convex plate at this early date probably involved use of the blown method, an extremely skilled and costly process that made such pieces the preserve of the very wealthy. It was not until the latter part of the eighteenth century that such mirror plates could be made in a mold. The present pair of mirrors epitomizes Regency decoration, particularly in the eagles that surmount each. The eagle was a symbol of might and triumph, and “is often represented on Regency convex mirror frames grasping a chain in its mouth. The eagle sits above a crossed bough of sprigs of oak leaves and acorns, which are repeated among other foliate decoration in the apron. The oak, adopted as the national tree of England, is a symbol of virtue, strength and endurance.