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image XF47
Mirror in three sections, XF47, English, unknown maker, c.1780s, gilt wood and mirror glass, in a narrow frame, shown in situ, ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photograph: Gareth Gardner

Mirror in three sections in a narrow frame, English, unknown maker, c.1780s

circa 1780-89

Gilt wood and mirror glass

Height: 103cm
Width (overall): 130.5cm
Width (central section): 68cm
Width (side section): 26.5cm
Width (frame): 3cm
Depth: 4cm

Museum number: XF47

Curatorial note

This mirror hung above the fireplace in the Breakfast Room in No. 12 Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1798 where it is shown in a watercolour by J.M. Gandy (14/6/1). A ground floor design plan for No. 12 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 1792, showing the proposed layout of furniture, has an inscription beside the position this mirror occupied in the final arrangement: Over this ch[imne]y the glass / now in the Library in / Scotland Yard.1

When Soane moved into No. 13 it was installed on the second floor and is probably the ‘Frame with 3 pieces of Looking Glass fixed on centre pier, South Side’ in the Model Room listed in the Furniture and Fittings inventory. A design for an overmantel for this room proposed by the then Curator James Wild drawn in c.1890-92, in the RIBA Drawings Collection, seems to incorporate this mirror2 and photographs of his overmantel as executed show it in the centre.

It is just possible that this mirror had an earlier history of being incorporated into others and is the inner part of the one shown in Soane’s Bath Room on the 2nd floor in 1825 (ten years before the Model Room was created).

Summerson’s Repairs Ledger for 1960 records ‘Triple mirror repaired £8.15.0 (Arnold Wiggins) and fixed over fire-place in 2nd floor back room’.

In 2015 this mirror was reinstated in its position above the model stand XF35 on the south wall in the recreated Model Room as part of Phase 2 of Opening up the Soane.

1 SM Drawing 32/2A/7. Soane rented an office in Scotland Yard before he moved to No. 12 Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
2 RIBA Drawings Collection, PB1410/26(3). The drawing is inscribed existing glass and frame indicating that the tripartite mirror is already present.

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