A Regency Period Giltwood & Gesso Convex Mirror Surmounted by an Eagle c.1815

Origin: English
Period: Regency
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1810-20
Plate Diameter: 11.5”
Width: 18.5”
Depth: 4.5”
Height: 38.5” (all at extremities)

The un-meddled with Regency period giltwood and gesso wall mirror having the original convex mercury mirror plate with ebonised mahogany slip, surrounded by a thick moulded gilt gesso frame surmounted by a spreadeagled eagle to opposing foliate grape and flower drops, the base with a ribbon and swag tied stiff leaf adornment, giving the whole beautiful balance and surviving from the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The mirror is in very attractive, decorative aged condition and hasn’t been meddled with. The original plate glass is intact and has attractive foxing across the whole, evenly spread. The gilding has a nice craquelure to the surface with some small losses throughout to the frame and hasn’t been badly re-gilded. The reverse shows the original boards with one lower section a replacement as photographed. The surmount and the foliate sprays are a little loose, though they stay in place as intended. The eagle is lacking much of its right wing as photographed. She may benefit from some stabilisation but can be hung as we have and displayed as intended as is.

The convex shape was very popular in the Regency period and appeared in many forms, often with the addition of exotic animals, flora and other decoration as we see here. They are known to reflect more light than the comparably sized flat mirrors, also reflecting the entire room and other sources of light. Although made from the mid-18th century, they did not gain great popularity until about 1790.  So favoured were they in the early 19th century, that Sheraton’s 1803 Director mentioned under 'Mirrors' only the convex form. Convex mirrors were often placed above the dining room sideboard, which allowed the butler to discretely keep an eye on dinner guests while keeping his back turned.  

An impressive and very original Regency staple, its honest losses and untouched condition all the more assuring.