Convex Girandole Mirror Surmounted by a spread-winged eagle on a rockery.
American or English,
Possibly Boston, circa 1825
Having a circular frame with tubular framing device and reeded and ebonized liner around a convex mirror plate surmounted by a rockery and spread-winged eagle, flaked by foliate decoration and four candle arms and having an elaborate carved foliate pendant.
Measure: H: 45″ D: 26″ frame. / candle arms: 32″.
Condition: Excellent: retaining almost all of its original gilding, with minor restorations. Bobeche are likely replacements.
Thomas Sheraton describes convex girandole mirrors in his Cabinet Dictionary (London,1803), saying:
“The properties of such mirrors consist in their collecting the reflected rays into a point, by which the perspective of the room in which they are suspended, presents itself on the surface of the mirror, and produces an agreeable effect. On this account, as well as for the convenience of holding lights, they are now become universally in fashion, and are considered both as a useful and ornamental piece of furniture.”
Convex mirrors with molded gilt frames have been prized for their decorative qualities since the 15th century. The first, and maybe only publication of designs for this form was in George Smith’s 1808 Designs for Household Furniture, where he published two plates by J. Taylor dated 1804 (pl.135, 136). One design was surmounted by a bat and the other by an anthemion, and this opened the flood gates for many other interpretations. The form remained fashionable throughout the Classical period. An example from the Metropolitan Museum of Art can be seen here.
Some girandole mirrors were made in America and this one relates closely to one illustrated on the label of gilder, mirror and frame maker, John Doggett of Roxbury, Massachusetts.