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Early Georgian Giltwood Mirror

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Early Georgian Giltwood Mirror

Creation date: 1755

Measurement : 81.28 x 147.32 x 0.00 cm

Catégory : Frames - mirrors

Technique : Carved

Main material : Gilt wood


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A lavish and rare English giltwood mirror of superb condition and quality, adorned with an expertly carved scrolling motif prevalent in the early Georgian style. Mirrors were considered luxury items in the 17th and 18th centuries, for the difficulty and expense to produce glass suitable for a mirror confined their ownership to an exclusive minority. Since the process to produce mirrored glass was costly and labor-intensive, the frames that surrounded these treasured items were important in both function and design, with the finest examples made by the most highly skilled furniture craftsmen of the era. Mirrors hailing from the early Georgian period are rare and quite exceptional.

Circa 1755

The Venetians were the leaders in mirror production for centuries. It was a tradition they vehemently guarded, going so far as to threaten glassmakers with prison and even assassination for divulging trade secrets. This, combined with heavy import taxes and the risks involved in the processes of grinding, silvering and transportation heightened the rarity of mirrors. Only the most affluent could afford the luxury of owning even the smallest example. Kings and queens throughout Europe considered mirrors excellent gifts that were exchanged with nobility and heads-of-state. Despite the severe consequences, some artisans managed to leave Venice with their glassmaking secrets, exporting them across Europe. The discovery in 1688 of producing massive sheets of glass revolutionized interior decorating. These considerable mirrors became the focal point of a room, an integral part of an interior decorative scheme that demanded more elaborate and stylish frames to protect and house these prized possessions. Most European furniture makers were slavish in their devotion to fashion and important designers such as William Kent prided themselves on their innovative designs, which included beautifully detailed mirrors.