A Rare Mid-19thC Child’s Cheval Mirror c.1860

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Origin: British, Probably Scottish
Period: Early/Mid Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1860-70
Height: 41.5”
Width: 22.25”
Depth: 11.75”

The very scarce child’s cheval mirror of the appropriate small proportions in beautifully original condition, showing the original clouded and foxed mirror plate, flanked by the original adjustable candle sconces, provincially crafted in pine with mahogany veneers, the whole raised on scroll supports, surviving from the middle of nineteenth century Britain, and probably, Scotland.

The mirror is in sound, attractive and decorative condition. The original plate glass is nicely foxed with good spreads to the whole plate mainly appearing the edges, so it can still be used as intended. The mahogany veneers have a nice colour and having a softwood, either beech or pine as a carcass she is quite light. There are some knocks and very small losses here and there and the backboards for the mirror are lacking, if indeed, there were any. The tightening knobs are original to the flanks and are in working order as are the candle sconces.

The cheval mirror, or cheval glass, was first made in the 1700s and was originally known simply as a dressing mirror. They were essentially created for use in bedrooms and dressing rooms, as the adjustable angle allowed a full-length view. By the end of the eighteenth century, the cheval mirror was very popular, and all of the era’s leading furniture designers had developed their own cheval mirror design, featuring different decorative frames and carved wood embellishments.

As furniture design evolved, mirrors were mounted on armoires and wardrobes in an effort to save space, and the cheval mirror lost some of its popularity. Cheval glasses for children are not common at all partly due to the wealth needed for a family to own one. This example is fairly naively carved to the scroll feet and the construction isn’t that sophisticated, so we imagine it was commissioned and made by a local craftsman in the Scottish provinces. Imagining the child that glanced into this mirror is a truly transportive experience.

This encapsulates everything we adore about antique pieces; rarity, originality, colour, texture, and the weight of the story that an object can tell.

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