The Story Behind The Decorative Mirror
Throughout history mirrors have played an important part in our lives as both household objects and objects of decoration. The ancients created these mirrors out of polished obsidian stone all the way back in the year 4000 B.C. Polished copper was used in Ancient Egypt to create mirrors that were often made with a round face and contained emblems and ornamentation.
However it was the Romans that introduced a mirror made of glass in the First Century, these mirrors were made from glass that was blown with a lead backing.
It was the glass blowing technique that revolutionised the way mirrors were produced and Venetians in the 16th Century created a flat glass mirror in a time where Hand blown mirrors meant serious business, so much so that Venetians tightly guarded their secret to the extent that a craftsman faced imprisonment or even execution for breeching the secrecy of their technique!
Only Fit For A King!
Until the early 1800′s mirrors were a luxury item which only the nobility could afford, if there was anything fit for a king to collect it was the mirror. King Henry VIII and France’s King Francis I were both avid collectors of mirrors. The mirror was once literally worth its weight in gold and only the most affluent could hope to own a small example.
An example of an early Venetian Mirror
A medium-sized Venetian mirror was comparable in price to that of a naval ship or aristocrats country estate!
The invention of the first modern mirror is credited to German chemist Justus von Liebig. In the early 1800′s he developed the process of layering glass with a silver salt and sugar solution, it was through this invention that mirrors then became manufactured on a much wider scale enabling ordinary people to afford to buy what was once a luxury item.
Fancy Times of the 18th and 19th Century
During the Baroque and Rococo periods in the 17th and 18th Century frames were either inlaid with marquetry or elaborately carved or gilded, with designs ranging from the grandeur of the Baroque to the more fluid Rococo carvings best encapsulated by Thomas Chippendale. In the 19th Century frames made from plaster on a wire base were common, known as composition frames, these are highly decorative and attractive but are often found damaged and in need of restoration.
English Rococo Mirror were often richly carved from giltwood in the early 19th Century.
Today mirrors are very affordable for all and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Many period mirror styles are still reproduced today. Such as the highly decorative Rococo mirror.
Other styles include reproduction Venetian mirrors, Art Deco style to ultra contemporary styles like frameless all glass mirrors.
This gives the consumer a broad selection when choosing to buy a mirror for the home, whether your taste is ultra modern or you want a mirror that fits in with the period style of your home there is a fantastic selection out there on the market.
About the Author
This information comes from Soraya Interiors, a supplier of wall mirrors to the UK. Soraya Williams has worked in the picture and mirror framing trade in North London for many years and takes great pride in seeing her mirror collections decorating people’s homes across the UK.