Antique cheval mirror: Old reflections

If you're looking for the perfect piece of décor to 'class up' your interior, why not try and antique cheval mirror in the bedroom or even in the hallway leading in from the front door? Cheval mirrors first became popular during late 1700s. Until then, full length mirrors were unwieldy creations that could not be moved around easily. Even if they could, the movement was restricted to being pushed around by removable wheels that had to be put on and then taken off every time you moved them – not practical at all. Around that time, the French started designing mirrors on swivel stands that were a whole lot easier to move around and infinitely easier to use.

Antique standing mirrors: Wooden faces going places

Of course, the frames of the now-antique cheval mirrors of the day were painstakingly carved out of the best quality hardwoods available at the time – typically ebony for darker shades, and olive or walnut for the lighter. The hand-carved patterns on an ornate mirror could take months to finish, and express delivery was probably 20 weeks! Naturally, they were expensive as well, and couldn't be bought off the street, so to speak. With the entry of English cabinet-makers such as the two Thomases – Chippendale and Sheraton, antique cheval mirrors took on a new life and character that was palpable in their works of art. Being hard-boiled cabinet makers, they incorporated cheval mirror styles into cabinet desks with drawers, shelves and what-nots, taking these creations to new levels of extravagance to feed the greed of wealthy patrons. This was probably the zenith period for wooden antique cheval mirrors.

Antique floor mirrors: The heavy metal movement

Wrought silver frames were also very popular in the 1700s and early 1800s, and were primarily exclusive creations for the super-wealthy. Exquisite silver silhouettes were soon seen all over Europe's castles and manor homes, and survive to this day to tell of the glory days of "the continent". Elaborate and intricate craftsmanship was the order of the day, and seldom was a silver antique cheval mirror seen without its traditional ornate embellishments. Because silver was the gold of the lower rich, this style of antique cheval mirror spread like a fire through dry brush, consuming every purse in its path.

Antique cheval: multiple media madness

The mirror became so popular that it was soon available with every type of frame imaginable: ivory, tortoiseshell, gilt, wood veneer with exquisitely detailed marquetry, and metals of all kinds were used in an effort to provide for every type of budget. With the supremacy that these mirrors achieved, everyone wanted a piece of the action and jumped into the fray, which Italy and Germany joining France and England in the race to become the largest suppliers of what we now call antique cheval mirrors

Antique cheval mirrors: The price of antiquity

Today, buying an antique cheval mirror is easy – and relatively cheap as well. A Chippendale cheval cherry finish mirror is available for under $500. A Victorian mahogany mirror costs around $1500. Antique cheval mirror prices come in a very wide band, and the more expensive ones can go into the tens of thousands of dollars. When buying an antique, before you put a whole lot of money down, make sure you get current pictures of the piece, as well as any sale or ownership transfer documents. A "pedigreed" antique cheval mirror will usually come with a whole bunch of papers authenticating its age, period and value, unless it was found in some 200-year-old "attic" somewhere in Europe. Even then it should have some sort of authentication document that was recently applied for and approved. If you're going to be investing a lot of money without actually inspecting the piece yourself, it's good to be prudent.