Luxury Design, Past & Present
The handsome proportion of this antique French Louis Philippe mirror circa 1880 along with the bold scale of its decoration gives it a unique presence. The wide gold leaf frame showcases a pattern of egg and dart moulding first invented by the ancient Greeks and used also by the Romans in their architecture both outside and inside. Please enlarge the photographs to see the excellent details that make this mirror quite desirable. The top of the frame has a serpentine profile and at the peak of the top there is a Régence style cartouche reminiscent of designs created toward the end of the sebenteenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. The large five petal open work flourish is set beneath an arch with a closed flourish and highlighted with beading. The arch rests upon a pair of facing "C" shaped scrolls that extend outward to the left and right shoulders of the antique French mirror frame riding above the frame itself. The original antique mirror shows the inevitable passage of time with the customary shading, foxing and speckling that makes original mirror so appealing. Adjacent to the mirror the frame showcases a slender band of moulding known as "les perles" in French because of its resemblance to a strand of natural pearls. The acquisition of natural pearls was a tremendous outlay of time and money and pearls have always been synonomous with wealth and privilege. Perhaps the most famous painting to showcase the value of a single pearl is Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring". The use of this motif has been seen for centuries and it is a shorthand code for luxury and power. The thumb sized concave moulding set between the inner and outer edges of this antique mirror clearly sets the two sections apart by providing a visual break between the two patterns. The width of this French mirror is unusual for its height and this aspect is a large part of its appeal.