Well here we are in the middle of the month of May, with summer just peeking around the corner. We are still enjoying our year-long celebration of our 40th anniversary – such a milestone! As you may recall, this month we selected all of the mirrors in our shop to be part of our “special sale.” As we placed our sale tags upon them, it occurred to us how beautifully designed and unique each one is – no matter if they were made 200 or 20 years ago.
Mirrors have long been a part of our decorating past. What was first constructed of polished stone and copper in 3000 BC, lead to the mathematicians and scientists who invented the parabolic and concave mirrors in the 11th century, which then lead to the early Renaissance period when the Florentines invented a process for making mirrors clear enough to give the illusion of depth and also begin a new form of art – the self-portrait.
Yet, within these early times, mirrors were often thought too expensive for widespread use by common people. They were also prone to corrosion given their early-learning techniques. It wasn’t until the 16th century when Venetian glassmakers on the island of Murano discovered that covering the back of a glass plate with mercury would obtain a near-perfect and undistorted reflection. This specific technique quickly became a highly-guarded secret. For the next hundred years, Venetian mirrors were installed into richly decorated frames and placed in royal palaces and esteemed residences all over the Europe. However, it was only a matter of time until their well-guarded secret soon emerged into London and Paris due to industrial espionage. French workshops in particular succeeded in large scale manufacturing of the mirror-making process and as such, made them affordable to the masses.
In today’s times, we are fortunate to still be able to find some of those rare Venetian beauties, as well as come across some painted French trumeaus and incredible gilded reproductions.
Mirrors can really make a room, no matter the shape and size. However, if you find the one that has a story behind it, we think that becomes the room’s “real reflection.” A thing of beauty that truly has a treasured past.