An Irish Regency Giltwood & Gesso Convex Wall Mirror c.1810-20

Origin: Irish
Period: Regency
Provenance: The Gordon Gridley Collection, London.
Date: c.1810-20
Width: 22.5”
Height: 26.5”
Depth: 3” (all at extremities)

The attractive Regency period giltwood and gesso wall mirror having the original convex mirror plate and ebonised reeded slip, surrounded by a thick moulded gilt gesso frame with corvetto balls in beautifully crusty and textured worn condition, undercrested by stiff leaves and a central scalloped shell, the surmounting lacking and the whole surviving from the first quarter of nineteenth century Ireland.

The mirror is in very original, attractive, decorative aged condition. The original plate glass is intact and has some small spotting across the whole. The gilding is worn to the whole and shows a fabulous patina without having been overpainted or gilded. When the mirror came to us it was filthy and we have carefully cleaned and stabilised it without meddling with its original aesthetic.

Gordon Gridley was one of the first dealers in the Islington area and a founding member of the Camden Passage antique dealers’ association. Trading in antiques from the late 1960s, he opened his first shop in 1971 and remained a well-known and respected figure in the antiques world until his recent retirement. Knowledgeable across a wide range of collecting fields – from English furniture and ceramics to folk art and French decorative antiques – for close to 50 years he travelled weekly across England and Europe to source items for his two shops and warehouse in London. This mirror was part of his retirement sale.

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.  

A beautiful Irish example that’s previous thick layers of dirt had preserved it’s originality in tact, as though buried amongst the sea bed.