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Mirrors - Item 9227
18th Century Mahogany Mirror

Item 9227 - antique mirror

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Item 9227 18th Century Mahogany Mirror
Dimensions Width 48, Height 64, Depth 4 (in inches)
Wood Cuban mahogany
Date Circa 1780
Country France
Price $8,995
Description

That this most unique and utterly extraordinary mirror survives in such good condition is either entirely serendipitous or the result of centuries of tender care by those who treasured it for its sheer beauty and its most unusual coat of arms. The glass is original and, although the silvering has deteriorated in some places, retains significant reflectivity. The wooden frame is entirely hand-carved from Cuban mahogany, which is unmistakable and inimitable in its fine grain and rich, deep coloration. Such mahogany was highly treasured and scarce, even in the 18th century, but became virtually extinct and unobtainable in Europe by the early 19th century. It is difficult to pin down a style for this mirror because it uses elements from various traditions. For example, the chutes de fruits or fruit garlands on the sides are often found on cabinets and armoires from the Renaissance. In this case, the garlands are suspended vertically and involve fruit carved in sumptuous detail; especially the pomegranates. The scrollwork and the curved partial pediments at the upper left and right corners are characteristic of 18th century design despite several pieces which appear to be missing. Most extraordinary of all is what appears to be a coat of arms or insignia below the crown. It consists of a tall bush or a manicured, bushy tree with a figure climbing the right side. At the base of the bush are two pairs of feet, unshod and facing away from the bush. The feet are upright, but cut off below the knee. Above everything is a crown in a highly articulated Gothic style with a central cross. Our research has not yet yielded the source of the coat of arms, but the presence of the crown could indicate ties to the house of Bourbon. All these features combine to make the mirror both an enigma and a triumph of the cabinetmaker’s art.

Reference

Quette, Anne-Marie, Le Mobilier Français Louis XIII et Louis XIV (Editions Massin, Paris, 1996); Rousseau, Francis, Le Grand Livre des Meubles (Copyright Studio, Paris, 1999)

Uses

To appreciate fully the beauty of the mahogany, the mirror should be hung on a wide expanse of wall, preferably white. It will be the center of attention in any room it graces.

mirror front
 

Mirror top left

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