A rare mirror which hung in a North Wales castle for generations is now on display in the Ronald Phillips gallery. This exquisite and possibly unique George II giltwood mirror was hung in Hawarden Castle, Flintshire which was the estate of the Victorian statesman, four-time Prime Minister Sir William Gladstone- where it had been since new.
Having been in the same family since it's commission in 1750 this beautiful and utterly unique artefact survives in an unbelievable state of preservation. Retaining the original oil gilding and wonderful original plate.
Today reputedly Ronald Phillips hold the largest and most comprehensive collection of mirrors, which date between 1660 and 1820 including, some of the finest Chinese reverse mirror paintings made for the English market.
Simon Phillips remarks:
"The Gladstone mirror was an exciting purchase because it is in such great condition. There is very little that has been added to it, which- when considering it was made in the middle of the 18th century- is quite amazing.
Mirrors are something that I've always particularly liked, and like paintings you can always find room for them. I feel they can add sophistication and glamour to both traditional and modern interiors.
Through The Looking Glass With Simon Phillips:
1. Choose original glass
Original glass has to come top of the list if you are looking to buy an antique mirror. In the 17th and 18th centuries glass was the most valuable part of a mirror, and it continues to be important when dealing in antique mirrors today. If an original mirror plate has been lost, so much of the history has gone with it, since much of the appeal of antique mirrors is the fact that they have been used as looking glasses for hundreds of years.
2. Find mirrors with original gilding
Original gilding is another quality to look out for. As fashions have changed over the years, many mirrors were regilded or painted, but it is best for investment purposes to have mirrors restored to their original state. In essence, always look for a mirror that has had as little repair done to it as possible.
3. Choose a mirror with a provenance
It is always great if you can find a mirror with a bit of history or a story attached to it; proof of previous owners, maker's labels or sale receipts give a piece that extra appeal.
4. Choose quality
Buy the very best!
5. Choose the best designs
Quality of design is also important. Look out for intricate carvings on the frame and beautiful bevelling in the glass.