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Hall of Mirrors

Centuries ago the Venetian Republic had a monopoly on the amalgam of tin and quicksilver over glass that was used to produce the finest mirrors in the world. It was such a vital part of the Venetian economy that the process for making glass was a famously guarded state secret. Still some glass makers escaped the sphere of the Doges and brought their craft to the rest of Europe. It was French artisans, with the help of embedded Murano advisers, that Louis XIV commissioned to produce the 357 pieces of mirror that make up the hall of mirrors in Versailles. Mirrors were very expensive in the 17th century and the courtiers were blown away by the extravagant opulence of the great room.

A mirror was so valuable it deserved to be framed as elegantly as any masterpiece; and artist often included mirrors in paintings as props to show off their patron's wealth. Since the Renaissance, architects and frame makers have been executing brilliant mirror designs. More than art, mirrors gave the frame maker the motivation and inspiration to master the craft of carved wood and gold leaf.

By the nineteenth century technology made glass making affordable and mirrors became a ubiquitous part of interior design. It is no longer necessary to be an aristocrat living in Downton Abbey to enjoy a beautiful custom made mirror. A quick visit to your favorite framer will help you select the right style, finish and size to suit your imagination. Whether we place them over the mantel or over a dresser, it's not vanity that compels us to look into a mirror, nor is it the pragmatic glance to confirm or deny one's haberdashery missteps. What fascinates us all is the pure magic of a looking glass and its absolute clear reflection on life.


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