Mirrored furniture was first tracked to the 12th century, but not as a person may think of it today. The first mirrors were often bronze or other metals, which were made concave to send a reflection back to the person looking at it. The images were distorted and often not clear. In the 12th century to the 17th century mirrors changed. Mirrors were then created with a flat glass and a thin metal backing, the metal backing being made from a mixture of tin and mercury.
Venetian furniture is the most common mirrored furniture. Venice was the first to really try different styles of mirrors in furniture settings, but it did not stay that way. During the next few centuries people left Venice to take their ideas to other countries such as France and England. Versailles is one of the most elaborate settings for mirrors, mirrored furniture, and Venetian decor.
Mirrored furniture, once mirrors took on their metal backing, was encased in several different settings. For example ebony, ivory, silver, tortoiseshell, walnut, olive, and laburnum were used frequently to encase the mirrors. Mirrors as furniture began as wall ornaments and fireplace toppers. Mirrored furniture that is thought of today started in the later 17th and 18th century. This type of furniture offered mirrors as part of dressing stations. For example a woman could sit down at a desk style piece of furniture that had a mirror incorporated into it. In other words a vanity furniture piece was created.
One mirrored furniture from the 1900’s Venetian style is an ornate oval piece of glass, with a ring of decorated glass and edging in ivory and pearl like beads. Today mirrored furniture can still be found. For example a stargate circular mirror is very popular. The mirror is conclave in a circle design. On the outer edges of the piece are lines to give the glass more ornamentation.
The antique Venetian triple deco mirrored furniture is another popular item. You have one large piece of glass with square bottom and sides. Then the top of the piece is more rounded going up in steps from square to round. Then on either side of the large piece of glass are two mirrors equal in size to half that of the large middle section. The appearance creates a symmetrical look and almost a 180 degree view.
Some mirrored furniture was more than just a wall hanging for a looking glass. Mirrored furniture was also used as a candle holder. The piece would have a square mirror plated on the back with metal, then as a setting a leaf style border that would help create the candle holder.
Mirrored furniture has many characteristics. The top most designs would be something ornate, with a complex symmetrical architecture. Mirrored furniture could also be a six foot tall mirror in a wood frame, with a stand to allow the mirror to move.It was not just about the glass in a frame, but more about an expensive wall hanging or floor decoration.