Napoleon III Style Oval Gold leaf Frame from France c.1880

(France, 19th Century)

Napoleon III Style Oval Gold leaf Frame from France c.1880
1610 Bissonet Street
Houston, TX, 77005
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Napoleon III Style Oval Gold leaf Frame from France c.1880


A lavish Napoleon III style oval gold leaf frame from France c.1880 enclosing the original beveled mirror glass. Please notice the beautiful combination of the oval frame decorated with an elaborate design at the top and a corresponding but simpler design at the base. The architectural simplicity of the oval is magnified with the addition of the decorative motifs. The mirror appears to be suspended from a garland of flowers that begin with a tight bouquet at the top that separates into a strand of flowering blossoms on the left and right. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was common to bring flowers by the armful indoors during the spring and summer to festoon an interior and celebrate the bounty of nature for winter was always around the corner with its months of bitter cold. The use of floral motifs was seen in all aspects of interior design from fabrics to moulding to frames and was a reminder of warmer times. The lifelike quality of these flowers in this frame is remarkable. Centred beneath the bouquet are the twin symbols of Louis XVI - a quiver of arrows crossed with a flaming torch. The flaming torch is an ancient symbol of life, truth and the regenerative power of fire while the quiver of arrows signifies the ability to use force in the pursuit of justice. By using these symbols from the past Louis XVI was making a conscious choice to ally himself with their powerful meanings. The pair of birds represent the ideal of romantic love with their outstretched wings and the way they are gazing into the eyes of the other. Notice that they too are fully modeled in the round and possess a lifelike quality like the flowers. The base of the frame has a more geometric balance with its flowing scroll flanked by inverted swags. The oval frame is embellished with an inner band of the famous "egg and dart" design first seen in ancient classical civilizations and visible still in ruins such as Ephesus on the west coast of Turkey. The gold leaf has been polished to a high sheen on the rounded shape of each "egg" while is has a darker appearance in the indented and grooved areas. This movement of light across the frame imbues it with a lovely allure. The other distinguishing aspect is the modulation of the gold leaf across the frame. As time has passed there has been a wonderful change to the initial all over brilliance that gives it more visual depth. The original beveled mirror glass has a surprising burst of cloudiness in the centre that extends toward the sides and gives the glass a mysterious effect. Mirrors of this scale and grandeur were always used in the public areas of a home where their beauty could be admired by both the residents and their guests. Now this mirror will be a focal point and will give a splash of glamour to both a modern or traditional space.

WIDTH: 38 in | HEIGHT: 57 in | DEPTH: 4 in

Origin France
Category Mirrors
Period 19th Century

Shipping Estimate: $350 | White glove

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THB REF: 7823947513 DEALER REF: BJ119