Presented is a late 19th century convex mirror with beautiful embellishments at top and bottom. The mirror frame is hand-carved with plaster elements, and overlaid by gold leaf. At top is a spread-wing eagle perched on small rocks with extending foliage. The mirror frame boasts a gadroon border, leading into an ebonized liner and convex mirror.
Convex mirror made their way into the homes of the American elite and wealthy at the end of the 1700s. When accompanied by candles, the convex shape of these mirrors helped to illuminate a room. Even after gas and electric lamps replaced candles, the convex mirror remained a desired artwork. The rounded shape provides ample space for ornamentation along the edges. This mirror features an array of early styles including Neoclassical acanthus leaves at the bottom, Rococo gadroon detail bordering the mirror, and an eagle perched at top.
The eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of the United States. The eagle motif has been widely used throughout American history, most notably as part of our Great Seal. The founders of the United States were fond of comparing their new republic with the Roman Republic, in which eagle imagery, usually the golden eagle, was prominent. On June 20, 1782, the Continental Congress adopted the design for the Great Seal of the United States depicting a bald eagle grasping 13 arrows and an olive branch with its talons. Since then, the eagle motif has appeared in allegorical engravings, patriotic banners and posters, and in beautiful wooden carvings and sculptures.
Overall good condition. Gilt and gesso surface application, hand carved hardwood frame with plaster details including the eagle and acanthus leaves. Ebonized liner and silvered glass. Occasional minor losses to the gilt throughout. One chip on the back of the eagle. Some hairline cracks in wood but structurally sound.
Dimensions: 32” H x 23 ¼” W x 3” D
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