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

A George III giltwood Robert Adam period borderglass pier mirror

c. 1790 England

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Original glass; side plate dividers and gilding probably later.


It’s plain. 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”.)

The dimensions indicate it was probably originally used as a pier-glass, i.e. placed on the wall between windows. This was a popular place to put a mirror in the home as during the day the light from the windows would fall on you, and you could see yourself well in the mirror, while at night candles could be placed on the table below the mirror to be reflected in the glass and increase the glow.

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.

By contrast this looking-glass is a fine exemplar of precise wood-carving ability and of late 18th century neoclassicism, expressing 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.

[There is a good book about Stuart - James Athenian Stuart, The Rediscovery of Antiquity edited by Susan Weber Soros. There are many books about Robert Adam.]
Gibbons/Howard family, Elm Hill, Worcestershire, England.
Dimensions
Height 69.00 inch (175.26 cm)
Width 34.00 inch (86.36 cm)
Ossowski

Ossowski
83 Pimlico Road
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