An 18thC Italian Gilded Silver Leaf & Mercury Plated Limewood Altar Mirror c.1740-70

Origin: Italian, Papal States
Period: Rococo
Provenance: Villa of Illustrious family, Marche, Italy
Date: c.1740-70
Height: 32.25”
Width: 16.25”
Depth: 6.5” (all at extremities & to include easel)

The glorious Italian altar mirror, in entirely original condition, the gessoed frame and base in silver leafed and gilded limewood, with beaded and fluted borders to a rococo scrolled plinth base and pediment with easel back, the original mercury plate with wonderful natural ageing, the whole surviving from the papal states of eighteenth century Italy.

The piece is in completely untouched condition with the mercury mirror plate having taken on stunning natural ageing with pitting and wear commensurate with age. The silvered wood has a pleasingly deep patination and the piece remains stable, with a later easel back added to aid stability. There are small areas of worm which is long since inactive. There would have been further carving to the top of the cresting to the piece which is now lacking. It could be wall mounted if so desired.

This mirror would probably have acted as a reredos which is any form of decoration placed behind the altar in a church. It would have been part of a larger composition and the quality of the piece is very fine with churches being where the finest quality furniture and adornments were commissioned for during this period. Limewood was easily carved and the skill seen here in the carving is very sharp and well defined.

A true delight, and perhaps the most exquisite mirror we have ever had the pleasure of owning.