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Overmantles, Antique Mirrors and Fireplaces.
26 February 2016

One of the most satisfying aesthetic combinations in the English County House tradition has to be a fireplace with an antique mirror or over mantle above.

An 18th century breccia marble Irish chimneypiece with a George II giltwood pier mirror.

This week we stood an Irish antique early 18th Century breccia marble fireplace in the showroom. The material holds superb variegated colour with rich and varied sensuous, reds and purples. Although it has a simple classic form it has a depth and richness that would enhance any room. Above it we hung a Palladian George II carved giltwood pier mirror. I think the architectural simplicity of these two pieces work well together.

Predominantly from the 18th century, all with mercury plates, the looking glass will transform the look of an interior, reflecting light and alongside the fireplace become the focal point of any room.

An Italian early C19th chimneypiece with a George II pedimented mirror.

The carved giltwood George ll Pedimented Mirror above came from Somerton Castle in Lincolnshire and hangs above an unusual, rare Italian statuary fireplace of Piranesian design. Once again, there is a symmetry of architectural detailing reflected in both pieces, with scrolled acanthus consoles mirrored in both items – which creates a pleasing aesthetic. Although the chimneypiece is early 19th Century and the mirror is 18th century, it is important to consider that the English Country house aesthetic evolved over centuries.

Another of our new antique fireplace additions to the showroom is an early 20th century French Louis XVI Revival chimneypiece of typical rectangular form, in statuary and black and white ‘Grande Antique’ marble. Grand Antique marble was quarried in ancient times from the Aubert, Saint Girons and Ariege regions of France. It was highly praised and much sought after – so much so that Napoleon’s tomb was sculpted from it. With the honeyed coloured pine and giltwood of the 18th century English George II mirror above it, there is a remarkable, but understated sophistication of them combined.

We always strive to buy antique pieces in their untouched and original state and with over two hundred antique mantles and many fine examples of 18th and 19th century looking glasses there is much to choose from.