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Convex mirror in black reeded frame, English, unknown maker, early nineteenth century, stained wood, mirror glass

Diameter: 70.8cm
Width (frame): 7.5cm

Museum number: XF360

Curatorial note

One of four with XF358 XF359 and XF361. These four mirrors are fixed against the walls on the East and West sides of the Dining Room and form part of a complex series of effects. They are canted forward on built-in frameworks and placed alongside niches backed with mirrors and containing busts.

When he was in Italy in the late 1770s Soane sketched a niche at the Villa Albani in which a statue was displayed with mirror glass behind it and it is thought that this arrangement inspired his own here. If so, he has developed the idea into a highly picturesque one by the addition of these mirrors alongside the busts in their mirror-lined recesses. The effect is almost like that of a framed painting, evocative of the hand-held small convex ‘landscape mirrors’ used by devotees of the picturesque movement in the eighteenth century.

Early views of the Dining Room in Soane’s day do not show these four mirrors canted forward, the introduction of the frameworks behind them must have happened very late in the development of the house.


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk