Antique English William Kent Style Burl Elm and Gilded Mirror England circa 1875 (43
A grand English William Kent style burl elm and gilded frame circa 1875 enclosing the original mirror glass. This bold frame possesses the characteristic architectural styling for which William Kent became famous in the early eighteenth century. The distinctive outset corners seen here were used extensively on frames for mirrors and paintings and were seen by Kent on his travels and study in Italy. He was particularly influenced by the designs of Andrea Palladio and brought his interpretation back to England. Kent was noted for his architectural and interior designs based on the Italian ideals of symmetry and incorporated them in the architecture, interiors and furnishings of his commissions. He worked for Lord Burlington at Chiswick House as well as at Hampton Court Palace. The particular appeal of this frame is its architectural alternative to the fantastic curves of the Baroque and Rococo styles with their emphasis on perpetual movement. These frames are always seen with either total gilding or as here with an inset of precious timber (burl elm in this case) outlined with a moulding highlighted by gold leaf or gilding. This particular example uses gilding on the outside moulding as well as on the narrow fillet seen adjacent to the antique mirror glass. The unusual pattern of the burl elm (a rare exotic timber) against the gold reflected the available light in a particularly attractive manner that was considered highly desirable. The placement of this mirror into a room helped it achieve a balanced and symmetrical overall appearance as it continues to do so today. The other desirable feature of this mirror is that it may be placed to hang either vertically or horizontally. This is especially useful in houses with tall mantels for the fireplace but lower ceilings. Alternatively it may be hung by itself on a wall where its strength and clean lines will easily hold its place alone.