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  • image XF372
Convex mirror in plain circular gilt frame, one of a pair including XF372 and XF373, English, unknown maker, early nineteenth century, gilt wood and mirror glass. ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photograph: Geremy Butler.

Convex mirror in plain circular gilt frame, English, unknown maker, early nineteenth century

Gilt wood and mirror glass

Diameter: 61cm
Width (frame): 5cm

Museum number: XF372

Curatorial note

One of a pair with XF373. These two mirrors hang on the staircase, one over a recess just above the ground floor landing and the other over a matching recess just above the first floor landing. The Furniture and Fittings inventory only lists one ‘gilt’ mirror but the adjacent entry is for another in a ‘black wood frame’: this entry seems to indicate that one of this pair was originally black.

Convex mirrors were used by Soane throughout No.13 (see XF198, XF233, XF234, XF235, XF294, XF317, XF322, XF340, XF358–XF 361, XF365 and XF366) In many cases, as with these two, the supplier of the mirrors is not known but it is likely that most were provided by William Watson, Soane’s regular painter and glazier, who supplied mirrors, some of them convex, from the early 1800s until Soane’s death.1 Soane is also known to have purchased convex mirrors from the instrument maker Peter Dolland (1730-1820). There is an intriguing reference in a bill from William Watson for 26 December 1827 to ‘1 convex and 1 concave mirror’. It is not known where the concave mirror was placed; nor is it listed in the 1837 Furniture and Fittings inventory.

1 SM Archive. For example, William Watson’s bills for 1828 include two fifteen-inch convex mirrors with black rims and one twenty-one-inch convex mirror ‘with black rim’. Soane sometimes supplied the plate glass for silvering by Watson.

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