A Very Pretty Early 19thC Japanned Chinoiserie Decorated Easel Back Dressing Mirror c.1800-30

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Origin: English
Period: George III
Provenance: Sherford House, Bromyard, Herefordshire, England
Date: c.1800-1830
Height: 19.5”
Width: 18.5”
Depth: 10” (the easel at maximum)

The attractively shaped japanned swing frame easel backed dressing table mirror having shaped original cloudy glass on dwarf scroll legs, the whole decorated with Chinoiserie decoration to include gardens, pagodas, floral spandrels, Asian-style foliage and idealistic scenes survives from George III period England and Sherford House, Bromyard.

The condition is beautifully true and original with the glass in original condition. And largely, the frame too. The mirror swings freely and the easel stand is sturdy with its chain still present. The original thick glass plate shows all over cloudy foxing and the frame has good patination to the chinoiserie decoration, commensurate with age. The frame has a few issues with a little looseness to the whole and some losses to the japanned flanks, though not to the facing decoration. There is one section to the frame that had a fissure and became disjointed and has been repaired. There are also two old brass hanging hooks where the mirror has been hung as a wall mirror.

The form of the dressing table, or vanity, began to develop in the late 17th century in Europe. Eventually, in the later 19th century, the dressing table, like other cabinet furniture, became a matching part of the bedroom suite. A tabletop mirror such as this would have performed its duties in the same way but was portable and thus of great use for any well-procured female.

Sherford House is a grade II listed building in Bromyard and Winslow, Herefordshire, England and is a hallmark Georgian town house with all the expected elegance and style of this period. Thomas Pritchard, an 18th Century architect known for his works at Croft and Powis Castle among others, is reputed to have designed this house in 1760. Well known for his interiors, of particular note throughout the house are some magnificent fireplaces, shuttered sash windows, ornate high ceilings and cornicing. In more recent years an Orangery has been added and outside a terraced walled garden has been created with a central water feature, all overlooked by a magnificent folly. This mirror would have been introduced to the interior just after the time of the houses inception.

The fine art of chinoiserie has been in existence since the 17th century, and it depicts Chinese style designs applied to furniture, ceramics and fabrics. Chinoiserie is wonderfully beautiful, and tends to depict realistic and fictitious animals, insects, people, foliage, structures and various other elaborate Asian designs that can be incorporated into a number of decorating themes. Antique pieces embellished with Asian-style chinoiserie and high-quality japanning are coated with baked-on layers that look very much like modern-day high-gloss enamel. Chinoiserie that has been japanned is coated with many layers of resin-based gloss and baked dry. Much polishing goes into the true technique of japanning, and high-quality pieces will appear to have deep layers of gloss with the sheen of fine marble, but true antique pieces like this will show signs of age and wear.

Beautifully untouched and genuine bona fide English country house.

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