Girandole mirror



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General Description

Girandole glasses came into popularity in England during the last decade of the 18th century, and by about 1805 such mirrors were being used in America. While the majority were probably made in England, a few American manufacturers are known to have made examples, although such glasses required such immense technical skill that probably less than a half dozen craftsmen in the country were capable of producing them. John Dogget of Roxbury, outside of Boston, was a prominent cabinetmaker in early 19th century America, whose signature label depicts a girandole mirror similar to the one in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection, seen here.

This example is one of the largest and most unusual girandole mirrors known. The huge, gilded eagle sitting on a pile of rocks is typical, but the manner in which the circular frame is spiral-twisted, with strapwork at the four compass points, is unique. Rather than the more typical all-over gilding, this mirror combines gilding with a light paint, presenting a striking appearance. Hung high on the wall, convex mirrors were designed to reflect light around a room. They also functioned as status symbols through their bold display of gilt decoration and silvered-glass, then a costly luxury.

Adapted from

DMA unpublished material.