January 09, 2013
Thomas Sheraton wrote in his Cabinet Dictionary of 1803 that convex mirrors "strengthen the colour and take off the coarseness of objects by contracting them", that the "perspective of the room in which they are suspended presents itself on the the surface of the mirror, and produces an agreeable effect", and that these mirrors are "universally in fashion".
What adjectives should I use to describe this English convex mirror, lavish, opulent, extravagant? Perhaps all three. This amazing mirror measures 67 inches tall and 58 inches wide making it the largest convex mirror we have owned in 41 years. I mentioned in the last blog post about the visual art concept called the horror vacui meaning the "fear of empty space". The Greek term for this is cenophobia. The maker of this mirror may have had a bit of cenophibia, filling up as much space as possible with carved and gilded acanthus leaves, laurel wreath, and bold anthemion.
Anthemion is the Greek word for flower, an ancient decorative motif dating back to the Egyptians. It resembles the leaves and flowers of the honeysuckle.
As Neoclassicism advanced in the 19th century mirrors became bolder. Convex and girandole mirrors were very popular at this time however, there are very few published designs for these mirrors. In 1804 George Smith published a design for a girandole mirror that has a crest with a stylized anthemion somewhat similar to ours.
George Smith's Design for a Mirror. Barquist American Tables and Looking Glasses pg.315
The mahogany dish top candlestand on the left with a vase shape turned shaft is from Philadelphia. The top flips up and the birdcage mechanism allows the top to swivel around. For more photos click here.
I love skeleton clocks, I get to see all the springs, wheels, and gears that are usually hidden from view. The one on the candlestand has an 8 day fusee spring driven movement with a single strike hour alert. To see more photos click here.
A wide varity of stands were made to hold specific objects beyond candles like china jars and urns. The small mahogany stand in the center of the photo is for kettles. This English kettle stand is 22 inches tall and has refined details like the pie-crust top, swirl carved urn, and high arched cabriole legs. More detail photos are here.
The next table is an amazing French Empire center hall table. This table is a triple threat, presenting the combination of great design with high quality materials and superior craftsmanship. Made around 1815, it has intense bookmatched mahogany veneers on it's incurvate triangular base and top edge.
The top is a beautiful piece of marble with bold veining. Looking through the Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones the top could be Greco scritto marble from Algeria or Bardiglio fiorito from the Apuan Alps, Tuscany Italy.
This center table is embellished with fine ormolu mounts. Ormolu refers to the bronze metal mounts that retain their original fire gilding. Fire gilding is the dangerous process of adhering gold to bronze. The mounts first are cleaned in a bath of nitric acid then cleaned again in distilled water. An amalgam of 8 parts mercury to one part gold is applied to the mounts with a brass brush called a bat. The mounts are then heated untill the mercury is flashed off,(the dangerous part), while the gold adheres to the metal. The mounts are cleaned with water and a brush then the gold is burnished with steel or hematite stone to a high sheen.
The leading edges of the base are adorned with a decorative ormolu strip of leaves and grapes. All the ormolu mounts that I've seen are usually attached with a small nail, screw or brad that can be seen from the front. Each of these pieces have hidden hand made nails that are threaded into the back of the mount so as not to interfere with the design on the front.
The marvelous feet are a sucessful combination of mellow green bronze patina with the central stylized anthemion fire gilt and burnished to a brillant luster.
Next are individual photos of all the wine glasses. If you're interested in more information on each glass click on the photo. At the bottom there are some videos showing how these wine glasses were originally made.
Here are 4 videos of master glass blower William Gudenrath at the Corning Museum of Glass. These videos show some of the techniques needed to make the wine glasses above.
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R. Joregensen Antiques offers one of New Englands largest collections of antiques just north of Boston in Wells, Maine. We are proud to be a member of the Antiques Dealers' Association of America, Maine Antiques Dealers Association, and the New Hampshire Antiques Dealer Association.
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