Relevant categories: Mirrors
( Above Photo: Gilt Gothic Mantle Mirror - Glass Gilded Frame English Interiors )
Gilt mantle mirrors usually have gold-plated frames that make them highly valuable. They have been around for centuries and have sentimental value based on their tag as antiques.
The original purpose of mantle mirrors was placement on the mantle or fireplace. You may want to put them to their original purpose or use them for something else. For instance, hanging the mirror on the wall makes it an excellent focal point.
( Above Photo: Chippendale Mantle Mirror Gilt Ornate Frame Glass )
Gilt mantle mirrors have unique features depending on when they were made. The following are the noticeable features of these highly-decorative mirrors:
( Above Photo: Georgian Mantle Mirror Revival Gilt Frame )
There would be a mirror among the materials for making gilt mantle mirrors. While some mirrors are newer versions of the original, others are older.
A typical original mirror would have visible crystals and a few foxed areas. If the mirror is made from mercury glass, it's likely to be a newer product.
The mirror is held together by a gilt wood frame. When making these mirrors, artisans used softwoods and hardwoods alike. Most commonly, the frames are made from pine.
Furthermore, the wood frame has a coating of gold and is held together by cast or plaster. The frames are shiny, creating high contrast with the transparent mirror.
( Above Photo: French Art Nouveau Gilt Mirror Mantle Mirrors )
Depending on the designer's original intention, gilt mantle mirrors take on many shapes. The most common shape is the rectangle, with a few additional decorations. For example, some rectangular frames have curved, arch-like ends.
In some cases, artisans created rectangular frames with multiple mirrors. So, you would have the primary mirror in the middle and two smaller ones to the side.
The oval-shaped mantle mirrors from the Louis XVI era are a break from the monotony of the rectangular mirror frame. These kinds of mirror frames and usually smaller than their rectangular counterparts.
( Above Photo: Gilt Mantle Mirror George II Mantle Glass Interiors )
One of the reasons why mantle mirrors are popular is the elaborate decorations on the frames. In some cases, the frames have intricately carved columns and medallions that look elegant once the gold is applied.
Others have rams head figures at the corners, bringing out a uniquely beautiful design. On some frames, you'll find carved gilt wood finial bows out from the top. Depending on when they were made, rectangular gilt mantle mirrors may feature geometric line motifs with interior bead design.
Some Louis XVI mantle mirrors even have floral accents on the framework. Others, which aren't made from solid wood, may feature fluted cove molded frames with an original water-gilding finish. Finally, in line with the Rococo design, it's not uncommon to get mirrors with the iconic C-scroll.
The Bottom Line
Gilt mantle mirrors are critical in enhancing your home's interior décor. They can create a focal point whether you place them on the mantle, fireplace, or elsewhere.
Since they are made in different designs, it is easier for you to find one that fits your home. You may choose one based on its shape or decorations.
If you care much about the value of the mirror, then getting one with an original mirror is most desirable.
Victorian Mantle Mirror Gilt R...
Gilt Mantle Mirror George II M...
Chippendale Mantle Mirror Gilt...
Georgian Mantle Mirror Revival...
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