A Pretty c.1900 Art Nouveau Pokerwork Hand Mirror


Origin: English
Period: Art Nouveau
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900
Length: 9.5 inches
Diameter: 4.5 inches (the glass)

Having Art Nouveau influenced flower, vine and leaf motifs, the softwood hand or dressing table mirror of small proportions with bevelled plate glass.

The original glass is in super condition with only some attractive minor foxing, with the wood showing a lovely patina, the handle with some evocative wear where it has been picked up and held countless times.

Poker work, or pyrography as it is now known, literally means "writing with fire" and is the traditional art of using a heated tip or poker to burn or scorch designs onto natural materials such as wood in this instance, or perhaps leather. The process has been practiced by cultures including the Egyptians and some African tribes since the dawn of recorded time. In the late 19th century, a Melbourne architect by the name of Alfred Smart discovered that water-based paint could be applied hot to wood by pumping benzoline fumes through a heated hollow platinum pencil. This improved the pokerwork process by allowing the addition of tinting and shading that previously were impossible.

A very sweet and hugely tactile little mirror.