Pair of early 19th Century Bilbao Mirrors(407 views)
Description: Item # 5220. A pair of fine late 18th early 19th century Bilbao Mirrors. Size: 15" wide and 32" tall. Condition: the gesso/wire decoration is in very good condition and the gilding appears to be intact; the mirror/glass is appropriately distressed because of age (when these mirrors were first used, people with powdered wigs were looking at their reflections); the marble columns and framing have had some restoration over the years. The bottom pilaster of one of the columns has been restored with matching marbled paint decoration. These mirrors are more commonly seen in finer New England 18th century homes. It is rare to find a pair in such nice condition. A similar pair are on exhibit at at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (G328). Literature: In The Looking Glass in America, 1700-1825, by Helen Comstock, a pair of similar Bilbao mirrors are illustrated, p. 80, fig. 53. Comstock writes, "Bilbao mirrors reached America about 1790-1810 in some thus far unexplored phase of [America's] trade with Europe. They take their name from Bilbao (formerly sometimes written Bilboa), a port in northwestern Spain near the French border that was frequented by American merchant ships in the 18th century. Note: A similar pair of mirrors sold at Skinners Auctions in the Fall of 2010 with labels reading: "Bernard Cermenati, Carver, Gilder, Picture Frame and Looking Glass Manufacturer, No. 10 State Street - Newburyport." Our mirrors are un-labeled.
Condition Report: Old restorations to marble elements
Provenance: From a Providence Rhode Island home
Dimensions: 15" wide and 32" tall
Medium: Wood, Marble, gesso, wire, mirror
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