Luxury Design, Past & Present
The elegant decoration on this antique French mirror circa 1880 is placed in a symmetrical manner with both raised and etched sections. This antique Louis Philippe gold leaf mirror has the rounded shoulders at the top and rectangular base indicative of the Louis Philippe style but has been further embellished to enhance its visual appeal. The outside edge of the frame is highlighted with a ribbon twist pattern that extends around the entire perimeter while in each of the four corners the mirror has a section featuring an arrangement of flowers with the lower corners making a sharp angle and the upper corners following the gentle curve of the frame. There is a blossom with five petals set at the centre of each floral spray with the scale of the flowers diminishing as the flowers move away from the corner. The background of the flowers is a matte finish chosen to highlight the sculptural dimensions of the flowers as well as provide a contrast with the brilliantly reflective gold leaf seen elsewhere on the mirror frame. Situated in the centre between each of the corners are smaller sections featuring an etched pattern of a vine with leaves and open blossoms repeating the theme seen in the raised corner sections. Again the artisan of this mirror has used a combination of polished and matte gold leaf to give contrast to the design. There is also symbol of luxury used in this mirror which is the slender ribbon of half spheres seen adjacent to the mirror. This pattern is known as "les perles" in France and symbolizes the incredible value possessed by natural pearls before the invention of cultured pearls. The time and expense needed to acquire a set of matched natural pearls was prohibitive to all but the wealthiest. This motif became shorthand for identifying the value of rarity and luxury and is sen in many frames and mouldings in France. This mirror has the original mirror glas with its customary fogging and speckles that add depth and dimension to antique mirror adding to its desirability. While the mirror does have some excellent decoration it is overall a simple piece that gives it great leeway to be used in a variety of interiors.