Antique wall mirrors: A royal pane

If you're looking for the right kind of embellishment to rule over what you consider to be your royal bedchamber, then antique wall mirrors are definitely going to be somewhere in the top 5 on your shopping list, somewhere between four-poster beds and brocade curtains. The rich look of these mirrors can only be justified as part of a full-fledged modern-day version of a Victorian interior, but more and more people nowadays are turning to 19th century furniture and fixtures, right smack dab in the middle of which antique wall mirrors fall – pun intended. The commanding presence of these mirrors is enough to silence any critic – on pain of being sent to the social guillotines. Onward we go, into the realm of reflective relics from the ages of English and French monarchs who brought out the best in art, culture, and more to the point, mirrors.

Antique wall mirrors of Europe

Antique wall mirrors can be from one of several European monarchies and republics. Chronologically, the oldest of these is the Most Serene Republic of Venice, which saw the age of mirror makers of Murano, the only artisans in the world who knew about using mercury as a reflective surface on glass to make mirrors. There are some exquisite pieces still in existence today at mostly exorbitant prices, and more pocket-friendly imitation versions of the Murano style, which can be bought for about $200. Murano still makes mirrors, but their time in the sun is long over, their secrets having been smuggled out and spread all over Europe after about 200 years of monopoly.

Go Goth!

Gothic antique wall mirrors reflect the period from about the 12th century, the prime features about these mirrors being their creators' penchant for arches. One of these, such as the Amiel large arch iron mirror, could set you back about $650 on Amazon. These severe looking creations can add a dark touch to any interior and can be a very good idea for an affordable antique look.

Baroque around the clock

Baroque antique wall mirrors are known for their bold, high-impact styles. The frames are extremely ornate, and are usually gilded or intricately carved from wood. A hand-carved walnut wood mirror from the 19th century costs about $3000. Not expensive by antique standards, but no pocket change either. As an aside, the Baroque period is also famous for its Swedish grandfather clocks, severe square jobs that told time with a single hand to the nearest 15 minutes – precision instrumentation at its 17th century best!

French Rococo - nuts about asymmetry

French Rococo antique wall mirrors have some unique features, and are from the so-called "Late Baroque Period". Apart from their cosmetic use, these mirrors were often used to spread candlelight to other parts of a room, and this can be seen in such features as candle-holders at the base of the mirror, which would allow the light to be thrown outward, illuminating a much larger area than a normal candle can. The Rococo period is also known for its deliberate divergence from the symmetrical designs typical of the Baroque period. One of these beauties can go for $6000 or more. Ideal for the man with a credit card but no electricity!

French Regency (as opposed to the British Regency, as opposed to each other)

The Regency period had its own offerings of antique wall mirrors which were popular buys of the early 19th century. French regency mirrors are ornate, as most antique wall mirrors are, and are available starting from a few hundred dollars.

Antique wall mirrors article disclaimer - Read first

The periods and their respective wall mirror designs are by no means an accurate or comprehensive coverage of antique wall mirrors. However, these were the ones that stood out as being signature periods for the evolution of wall mirrors through the centuries. Naturally, my most sincere apologies to any King, Sultan, Emperor, Duke, Maharaja, Shah, Kaiser, Tsar, Viceroy, Archduke, Count or Baron (and their female counterparts) that I may have left out or inaccurately represented in this little work on antique wall mirrors.