Posted by: frenchinspiredliving | January 15, 2009

An introduction to mirrors

An example of the quality of mirrors on offer by The Old French Mirror Company  

 The mirror shown here is a French gilt Napoleon III mirror c. 1860. 

Mirrors are a ‘must have’ in any home because of what they can do to the space; bring light in, reflect chandeliers and other interior items, bring the garden inside or just to be seen as a  beautiful piece which brings the room together.

French 19th century mirrors come in all shapes and sizes.  This was a century that re-invented itself many time as three major families and the ‘people’ themselves fought for power.  All these changes became evident in the design of the furniture and mirrors through the century.

This then gives the buyer of to-day an enormous range of styles to chose from.  Early lineal Empire and Restauration mirrors, simple curved topped Louis Philippe mirrors, sometimes with a modest crest.  Between 1851 and 1870 there was a return to more flamboyant styles reminiscent of the previous century when Napoleon III took his place on the throne of France.

Most of these mirrors will still have the original mirror plate, marked or not, and it is quite important to keep the integrity of the piece in tact rather than re-place marked glass.  A good dealer will know the dates of when mercury and silver were used and the cut-off dates of each.  In the mid 1920’s silver, as a method of making glass into mirror, was replaced with aluminium.

Expect to pay from £600 for a small antique mirror.  The mirror in the image above would be in the region of £3500.

Text provided by Bridget de Breanski of The Old French Mirror Company.

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