An Unusual Heraldic Late 19thC Painted Wall Mirror

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Origin: Probably Italian
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870-90
Height: 22.5 inches
Width: 11.5 inches

The unusual heraldic arched top pier looking glass with a decorated frame and surmount depicting armorial crested shields, the central shield with a fleur-de-lys (for Florence?) flanked by mythological beasts, the surround with gilt scrolls, the whole using gold, black and red pigments and surviving from the nineteenth century.

The mirror is in slightly tired but very attractive condition. The original plate glass is partly obscured but beautiful and without cracks. The paintwork as a whole has areas of small wear and loss as seen in the photographs but the mirror has not be restored and thus remains true to its original condition and is ready and able to be hung and admired.

This mirror is similar to a pier glass which is a mirror which is placed on a pier, i.e. a wall between two windows supporting an upper structure. It is therefore generally of a long and tall shape to fit the space. We cannot find another example of a pier mirror where it is decorated with a painted armorial. Further research could be carried out on the armorials and heraldry that is present on the piece. It has some Venetian influence and may originate to Florence. Whilst the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries it is red on the coat of arms of Florence and this ties in with the Italian style of some of the other motifs.

A positively unique and highly decorative mirror, and one that is probably of Florentine origin.

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