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

Origin: English
Period: Regency
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1810-25
Plate Diameter: 15.5”
Width: 25.5” with sconces or 23.5” without
Height: 37” (at extremity)

The large Regency period giltwood and gesso wall mirror having the original convex mirror plate with ebonised mahogany slip, surrounded by a thick moulded gilt gesso frame surmounted by a pedestal sided by acanthus leaves and supporting an eagle displayed, suspending from its beak on a chain, a corvetto ball, the base with further acanthus leaves, each side with brass and gilt gesso girandole candle arms and candle cups, surviving from the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The mirror is in very attractive, decorative aged condition. The original plate glass is in tact and has attractive foxing across the whole, evenly spread. The gilding has had a rather chequered history with some areas of wear through to the gesso and a more stable patination elsewhere, though it may have been re-gilded at some stage it is still historic gilding, and as such there is a nice craquelure to the surface with some small losses throughout to the frame. The candle cups are slightly misshapen but appear to be original, there is some loss to one of the sconces. The reverse shows the original boards.

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. 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 Regency staple, and a classic antique with masses of decorative appeal.