Monday, December 27, 2010

Images of the Past

   Some times, when you are just in the right spirit, and you pier into a mirror, you can see images of the past. Perhaps, this is Elizabeth Mountjoy Elgin, in her parlor ,at the 1845 Elgin / Cottrell House, Mirror. Perhaps. Just Perhaps!

Mirror - Mirror On The Wall

  Mirrors,Mirrors, everywhere, that was the norm for an American ,Ante- Bellum home, before the Civil War. Imported from France and made in America,mirrors, were widly used in the decor of that day.
    The defination of a mirror, is a sheet of glass ,coated on it's back ,with silver, to produce images, by reflection.The first mirrors were metal, made during the Middle Ages.They were highly polished to reflect light.In the 16th century, Italians made mirrors, with sheets of glass ,with polished metal sheets on the back. They could  not be very big, and they were heavy. The chemical process of coating a glass surface ,with metallic silver, was discovered in 1835. This is the modern day way to make mirrors. Mirrors have a long history of use as household objects of decoration.New cheaper techniques in the 19th century, led to a great profiferation in their use. Not only were they hung on walls, but were incorporated into pieces of furniture.Improved skills in mirror making also made it possible to use large sheets of mirror, for over the mantles and the popular pier mirrors.
   Mirrors over fireplace mantles,(Over the mantle Mirrors) and Pier Mirrors between two windows were popular in most Victorian homes. The purpose of these mirrors was three fold. One, to reflect light, most houses of that period were lite with candles or whale oil. Gas  and oil lamps were used late in the period. None of the above produced great light, so the mirrors would make the rooms brighter. Two, the Pier mirrors between two windows, made the room to appear bigger. It seemed to continue on. They also reflected the light. Three,the mirrors were so very beautiful and added so much style and grace to a homes interior.If you wanted to show you were a man of means, the way to do that ,was  your home. And a home with mirrors everywhere, was a home of a man of means,indeed. Gold Gilt, didn't hurt, either.
  Over the years I have somehow managed to amase a collect of mirrors for my old Historic House. Some were raised from near death, others were as  beautiful as the day when they were first made. The Over The Mantle in my Up River Parlor came from a fine home in StLouis. It was in my Antique shop there, untill I purchased this home, and then I had to keep it. It has only 3 inches to spare , even though my ceilings are 12 feet. I measured and meaured, and finally, my carpenter and I, just hiked it up there. I have giving most of my mirrors a gold leafing. Using sheets of gold leaf and a soft brush. The same manner in which they were first made.Some like the original finish, but me, I like them to be shiny and bright, like when the house was new.

Over The Mantle Mirror  Up River Parlor.

Rosewood Etergee Up River Parlor.

French Mirrored Cerdenza Up River Parlor.

Cener Cartouch Of Up River Parlor Over Mantle Mirror..

Rosewood Etergee Up River Parlor.

Gold Gilt Pier Mirror Between two Windows Up River Parlor.

Dining Room Over The Mantle Mirror.

Walnut Etergee Down River Parlor.

Dining Room Over The Mantle Mirror.

Walnut Pier Mirror Dining Room.
Close Up of the Dining Room Pier Mirror.

English Mahogany Side Board.

Walnut Etergee Down River Parlor.

Gold Gilt Pier Mirror Down River Parlor.

Top Cartouch Down River Pier Mirror.

Over The Mantle Mirror Down River Parlor..

Cartouch  Down  River Parlor.

Bath Room Mirror.

Master Bed Room Over The Mantle mirror.

Purlpe Guest Chamber.

Dresden Wall Mirror.

Venitian Mirror Powder Room.

Entrance Hall Pier Table  Mirror.

The Ladies would look to see if there Ankles were showing.

Entrance Hall Pier Mirror.

  A lot of my mirrors have history, from one owner to another. But all that matters now, is that they are at home, at The Elgin/Cottrell  House, where I hope they can stay and be enjoyed by many people for lots of years to come. Drop by any time. Sissy Dog and I would love to show you around. Just give me a call. 573-242-9688.