A Large Vintage Fairground 'House of Mirrors' Convex Distorting Mirror


Origin: English
Period: Mid / Late Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1960-70
Width: 49.5 inches
Height: 27.5 inches
Depth: 6.25 inches (at maximum)

Forming a virtual image, the original plate with heavy-duty black painted casing and hanging hooks to rear. The mirror is convex so light rays seemingly come from behind the mirror and reflections will appear smaller and further away than they would normally.

Condition is sound with no cracks; there is some foxing to the glass, though entirely consummate with age.

A house, or hall of mirrors is a traditional attraction at funfairs and amusement parks; the basic concept, a maze-like puzzle. The mirrors may be distorted because of different curves, convex as we see here, or concave in the glass to give the participants unusual and confusing reflections of themselves.

The origins of the house of mirrors stem from the hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Upon a visit to France to discuss colonial land agreements, Peter Stuyvesant arrived at the Palace of Versailles and gazed upon the hall of mirrors present in the palace. Peter became determined to bring this amazement to the newly founded colonial city of New Amsterdam, of which he was governor. Peter Stuyvesant's House of Mirrors was founded in 1651 and he charged one Dutch gulden for admission.

Once the custodian of this mirror, you too could happily charge for admission, but be warned; this mirror may transform you into a pin-headed monster…and whatever you do, don’t look behind you.