Learn about Mirrors

Small handheld or wall mirrors were not made in England until the beginning of the 17th century. Until then, most were imported from Venice. The celebrated Vauxhall glasshouses were opened in the 1660s.

At first, hand blown techniques were used, but the glass showed a great many imperfections, particularly when used for mirror making. Glass casting, where the molten glass was poured on to a bed of hot metal and rolled, was introduced in France in the later 17th century, but it was not until 1773 that the British Plate Glass Company was incorporated. From then on this glass tended to supplant the French imports.

Initially the mirrored pieces were relatively small and a large carved frame frequently had to incorporate glazing bars to accommodate several pieces of glass. After the mid-18th century improved techniques meant that large plates could be produced, and one supplied by Chippendale measured 231cm by 146cm.

Bevelling techniques, in which the edge of the plate glass was ground to a forty-five degree angle and polished, were not used on a wide scale until after 1750. more...
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A large Art Nouveau style gilt wood mirror, 106 cm high, 138 cm wide

An Art Nouveau bronze Japonaise dragon mirror, circa 1900., probably French, the solid bronze easel back mirror of cushion form with an asymmetrically positioned bevelled glass, applied dragon and trailing floral motifs in relief to two corners, one with a

An Art Nouveau style mahogany overmantel, with 4 bevelled glass mirrors and two upper shelves, with turned spindle pillar supports, and with carved, top pediment. Height 1228 cm. Width 156 cm. Depth 21.5 cm

A rare Austrian Art Nouveau ebonised mirror and pedestal. 276 x 120 x 31 cm

French Art Nouveau mirror with a rectangular bevelled edged plate and an ornately marquetry inlaid surround

Art Nouveau fine pair of gilt mirrors decorated with elaborate floral decoration measuring 40 x 70 cm