Luxury Design, Past & Present
A Victorian gilt mirror of oval form with a giltwood and gesso rope twist frame centred on a bust of Prince Albert. The reverse with a paper label stating ‘Turner. Carver & Gilder Composition Ornament, Looking Glass & Picture Frame Manufacturer 4, Brewer Street, Pimlico’. English, circa 1850.
Raphael Turner is listed in the London Post Office Directory of 1843 as a carver and gilder at the 4 Brewer Street address in Pimlico.
What is especially interesting about Mr Turner’s links with the art world is that his involvement was not limited to producing mirrors-and presumably picture frames. He was also an active artist in his own right and exhibited a still life of game and vegetables at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1844.
If Raphael Turner had artistic talent of his own then he would no doubt have appreciated the effect that Prince Albert had on the arts in Britain at the time, playing as he did an important role in instigating the series of International Exhibitions and establishing London’s museum quarter, including the South Kensington Museum, Now the Victoria and Albert, in Kensington with some of the proceeds from the Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace in 1851. There could scarcely be a more fitting figure to commemorate on mirror frame of this period.
By 1871, Mrs Elizabeth Turner is recorded as carrying on the business at the same address and so was presumably Raphael’s widow.
This mirror is a fascinating decorative piece and an intriguing piece of social history as well.
Lymington SO41 9BB