IMPORTANT GILTWOOD GIRANDOLE MIRROR WITH FOUR CANDLE ARMS SURMOUNTED WITH AN EAGLE AND ANTHEMEON
American or English, c.1825
A carved eagle with spread wings on a tapering platform above scrolled foliage and a pierced anthemion above a convex glass surrounded by an ebonized mirror slip and gilded frame decorated with gilded compo decoration and a foliate pendant, flanked by pairs of candle arms. Woods: white pine.
H: 67” D: 31”
Condition: Excellent: the bobèche are modern replacements. The original gilding has been cleaned of later paint and small areas of gilding loss have been patched where necessary.
Thomas Sheraton describes 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.”
Though 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 surmounted by a bat and the other by an anthemion, and this opened the flood gates for other interpretations and the form remained fashionable throughout the Classical period.
The present mirror, which must have been inspired by Smith’s illustration (pl. 136), boasts an extraordinary eagle on a towering platform with a pierced anthemion. A remarkable amount of original gilding survives.
M-1409211 se the 15th century