Antique French "Pareclose" Gilt and Carved Mirror circa 1885 (44"w x 66"h)
The bold architectural style of this French antique mirror is Régence in style taken from the era when Louis XV was too young to assume the throne of France. The transition in taste from the stately presence of Louis XIV to the lovely curves of the Rococo is shown clearly in this French mirror. The cartouche features a bold scallop shell centred within an architectural framework with open trellis work framing the shell. The cartouche is flanked with a bold design of sweeping branches entwined with floral vines that cascade all along the top and drape over the left and right shoulders of the mirror. The custom of using nature's bounty to adorn interiors has been a custom for centuries but was especially popular in France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. After a long and cold winter it was a pure pleasure to take the natural output of living plants and bring their freshness, both visual and actual, into an interior closed against the severe weather for months. the sweet freshness of flowers and boughs helped clear away the dust and soot accumulated over the winter. The decorative use of these same natural motifs in actual carved and gilded frames was soon incorporated in items chosen for the rooms in a home. The mirror frame is known as a "pareclose" because of its frame that encloses seven separate pieces of mirror in order to increase the size of the reflected image. This was necessary because the physical impediments against the production of large plates of mirror took many years to perfect. The earliest and most famous use of a pareclose mirror treatment remains the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. The inner and outer frames are attached at six different places and the mirror glasses are secured by the use of smaller Régence pattern gilded sections that also cover the joining of the mirror plates. The outer band of decoration on the frame shows a wrapped ribbon pattern with the inner frame distinguished by a band of beading known as "les perles" for its resemblance to a strand of matched natural pearls. As these are original piece of antique mirror they possess the customary speckles and foxing that make old glass so desirable. The impressive scale of this mirror and the beautiful balance and proportion of its elements make this an impressive example of French craftsmanship that will be a striking addition to a room design.
WIDTH: 44 in | HEIGHT: 66 in | DEPTH: 8 in
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