A George III giltwood Robert Adam period borderglass mirror
A George III giltwood Robert Adam period borderglass mirror
A George III giltwood Robert Adam period borderglass mirror
A George III giltwood Robert Adam period borderglass mirror

A George III giltwood Robert Adam period borderglass mirror

c. 1790 England

Offered by Ossowski

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It's plain (as the Amish might say). Plain but popular. This style of mirror has been made for over 200 years because nearly everyone likes them and they go with everything. Unlike the showier rococo examples from earlier in the 18th century, these looking-glasses don't demand to become the focus of a room but blend in with it (while exuding “Taste”.)

This one wasn't originally made as plain as it is now. Slots on the back at top and bottom tell us that it originally had “dressing” i.e. swags of harebells and an urn, or similar. The dressing has often been lost over the years and whether they were made plain or became plain doesn't really seem to have an effect on value. (Although unoriginal later dressing seems to detract from value). Just to complicate matters a little, Adam Bowett a leading furniture historian, has suggested that the slots may have been provided but not necessarily always used.

This style of frame having been made for so many years means that there are a lot of more recent nasty examples around. Heavy, thick detailing, often made from composition rather than wood, gold paint, that sort of thing; so care needs to be taken when choosing one.

This example is a little jewel of late 18th century neo-classicism, expressing in miniature the excitement of rediscovering the Classical World's decorative language. Robert Adam - “Bob the Roman” and James Stuart - “Athenian Stuart” were the two men who probably did the most to promote the new style in Britain. Of the two Adam was the more commercially successful (though he also had some disasters) and whose name is now synonymous with the style, but I feel a twinge of guilt whenever typing “in the manner of Robert Adam” that James Stuart has been somewhat overlooked by posterity.

[There is a good book about Stuart – James “Athenian” Stuart, The Rediscovery of Antiquity edited by Susan Weber Soros.]

[BTW, Most of these borderglass mirrors can be hung vertically or horizontally.]
Dimensions
Height 89.00 cm (35.04 inches)
Width 59.00 cm (23.23 inches)
Ossowski

Ossowski
83 Pimlico Road
London
SW1W 8PH
England

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