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Small Venetian mirror

Venetian mirror with decorative frame featuring a central flower girded with leaves

N° inventaire: 09782 Categories: , , Tag:

• Date: before 1882

• Place of manufacture: Venice (Italy)

• Manufacturing technique: small oval mirror, engraved glass, wood and baked clay

• Dimensions: H : 36 ; l : 24 ; ép. : 5,8

• Collection: Coll. Musée des Arts et Métiers / CNAM

• Credit: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Pascal Faligot


In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Venice enjoyed a near monopoly over the production of small mirrors, which were then extremely costly luxury items. A thick and very clear glass was made using the broad sheet process. Its two faces were then made parallel through numerous polishing and grinding operations. The mirror was then bevelled and coated with a reflective metal, originally lead but later mercury and tin. The mirror was then mounted in a decorative frame. By the seventeenth century France started to rival Venice thanks to a new process for casting glass which allowed French glassmakers to produce very large mirrors such as the ones in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.