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Indispensable in the decorative arts, mirrors employed the decorative vocabulary of the various styles and periods in order to integrate into interiors. Placed above a fireplace or in the wall space between two windows, the overmantel or pier glass is a mirror whose mercury-coated glass is surmounted by a canvas or cartouche with richly carved motifs. Although its location has changed over time, it is still called an overmantel or pier glass.
The progress made in the manufacture of mirrors has made it possible to significantly reduce faults and the cost, while improving their reflective quality. Ever larger and decorative, mirrors, overmantels, and pier glasses were designed to be the perfect complement to the many types of woodwork in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Swing mirrors, overmantels and pier glasses, dressing mirrors, wall, mobile, and table mirrors … mirrors combine—with great finesse—functionality with their appeal as highly decorative objects.
Made in whole range of forms and sizes, depending on the styles and epochs, mirrors reflect ever-evolving craftsmanship. When placed above a mantelpiece with wood panelling, the mirror is called an overmantel. A large moveable mirror on two upright pieces of wood fitted with a pivot mechanism is called a swing mirror. Whether hung on a wall or placed on a table, the mirror is a classic antique with a timeless appeal.
When mirrors are surmounted with a finely carved pediment, which is adorned with gilt bronze and surrounded by intertwined branches or chimeras, they can be extremely large. Exuberant or extremely sober, mirrors promoted the art of luminous reflections and shiny materials in a whirling mass of gilding and curved lines. Each detail is a feast for the eye for all lovers of art and antiques.