Provenance & Patina: Important English Furniture from a West Coast Collection

Provenance & Patina: Important English Furniture from a West Coast Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1015. A Pair of Queen Anne Scarlet and Gold Verre Eglomisé Pier Mirrors, Circa 1710.

A Pair of Queen Anne Scarlet and Gold Verre Eglomisé Pier Mirrors, Circa 1710

Auction Closed

June 18, 08:33 PM GMT


50,000 - 100,000 USD

Lot Details


each with shaped crestings decorated with swags and arabesques with gilded divides, the split arched bevelled plates within strapwork and foliate decorated border panels with gilded and black-decorated frames 

height 80 in.; width 32 in.

203.2 cm; 81.3 cm

Mallett, London;

Property from a Distinguished Southern Family, Sotheby’s New York, 20 October 2021, lot 110.

L. Synge, Mallett's Great English Furniture, London, 1991, p.29, fig. 16.

Named after the Parisian dealer, framer and restorer Jean-Baptiste Glomy (1711-1786), the technique of verre églomisé involves applying gold or silver leaf to the reverse of a glass plate into which designs are then engraved, and then adding coloured foil and pigments, most frequently red or black, but shades of blue and green were also used. The technique existed in ancient Rome and resurfaced in Italy in the 14th century, when details of the process were described in the painter Cennino Cennini's Libro dell'Arte (c.1400). It enjoyed a revival in France and Continental Europe during the reign of Louis XIV and was used to create glass border mirrors decorated with figural and arabesque motifs in the manner of the court ornamental engravers Jean Bérain (1640-1711) and Daniel Marot (1661-1752); the latter's arrival in England in 1694 contributed to its development in England, where it was sometimes referred to as 'mosaic work'.

A similar scarlet ground and gold églomisé pier glass with a giltwood cresting is in the Untermyer Collection, Metropolitan Museum, New York (64.101.1001), and this is related to another églomisé mirror with silvered wood cresting and a blue background in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (W.27:1 to 4-1954).1 Both have been attributed to the carvers and gilders René and Thomas Pelletier (active c.1680-1720), sons of the émigré Huguenot carver Jean Pelletier from Paris, whose workshop was in Covent Garden. In 1707 the brothers are recorded supplying a pair of églomisé overmantel mirrors to Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu for Ditton House, Buckinghamshire.

Other comparable scarlet ground verre églomisé pier glasses include an example at Penshurst Place, Kent2 and a large pair supplied to Sir Nathaniel Curzon, 2nd Bt (d.1718) formerly at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire and now in the Gerstenfeld Collection, Washington, DC.3 The latter examples also both have giltwood cresting, unlike the offered lot which retains its cresting of glass panels with conforming decoration to that of the borders, an extremely rare survival. One other églomisé mirror with glass rather than giltwood cresting, on a black ground and in partially damaged condition, was in the collection of the celebrated English furniture connoisseur Percival D. Griffiths at Sandridgebury, Hertfordshire, and is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (W.39-1938; not on exhibition). Its form, dimensions and scroll and strapwork decoration to the borders are almost identical to those of the offered pair, and it likely comes from the same workshop.

1 Illustrated in G. Wills, English Looking Glasses, London, 1965, p.68, fig.11.

2 Illustrated in R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 1954, vol. II p.322, fig.28.

3 E. Lennox-Boyd, Masterpieces of English Furniture, The Gerstenfeld Collection, London, 1998, no.69, p.227.