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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Victorian leatherwork mirror, New South Wales, c. 1880, of oval shape, applied tooled leather flowers, original glass mirror, height 150 cm 92 cm. Provenance: Marvin Hurnall Antiques, Melbourne. Collection of George and Adisa Pompei, Sydney. Labels: Women&

Arts &, Crafts carved timber wall mirror, 66 cm x 62 cm

A carved pine Arts & Crafts wall mirror, c.1900 the frame carved in the arts & crafts/aesthetic design with a central oval silvered glass mirror. Note: with paper label verso: 'Carved by Mrs. T. H. Sharp for Melbourne Exhibition 1904', purchased Gregson's

A Liberty & Co style, Arts & Crafts hammered copper wall mirror, c.1900-1915, artist unknown. 63.5 x 78 cm

English Arts & Crafts wall mirror, c. 1900, with floral painted frame, labelled 'F. Parker & Sons 20 Newman St England'

A 19th century Arts & Crafts wall mirror in beaten riveted copper with circular relief profile bust of 'Dante' in brass. Height 77 cm

Arts & Crafts circular hall mirror c.1900's, pewter with glazed ceramic ruskin style cabochons diameter: 34.5 cm

Arts & Crafts overmantel wall mirror c.1900, bevelled glass, oak construction with hammered copper panel inserts, heart motifs, and single upper shelf. Length 128 cm. Height 75 cm

An arched mirror by Margaret Butler C1910, repousse pewter surround with enamel inserts. Illustrated p.169, the Arts & Crafts Movement in New Zealand 1870-1940.' Ann Calhoun 2000. Margaret Butler was New Zealand's first major woman sculptor. She was born i