Antique Venetian mirrors
Antique Venetian mirrors are a popular type of mirror created in 16th century Italy.
Background and Description
The first Venetian mirrors of the 1500s were created for Italian noblemen and royalty. At this time, Venice was developing the first method of making mirrors out of plate glass, and became a centre for mirror manufacturing.
The glass was then placed into finely crafted frames of intricate beauty, works of art. These items were unique, rare, and valuable.
Venetian mirrors are defined by richly designed, mirrored borders. The designs include long lines and sweeping arches, and intricate detailing achieved by processes such as etching. They often incorporate delicate ornate rosettes.
Venetian mirrors generally employ a neoclassic style of design.
They can come in various shapes, rectangles, ovals and circles. They can also stand alone up against a wall, or hang.
Collecting antique Venetian mirrors
Venetian mirrors are considered to be works of art, and extremely collectible.
Antique Venetian mirrors make up a broad collecting category, having been manufactured since the 16th century. There can be significant variation from mirror to mirror, so a collector may choose to amass a varied collection, or to focus on one era or manufacturer.
Care must be taken to ensure a Venetian mirror is a genuine antique, as numerous modern examples are created. Antiques may be examples made by hand rather than mass produced. As such, they will be more valuable and unique.
The value of an antique Venetian mirror depends entirely on the age, quality, and condition of each individual example. Mass produced recent mirrors are worth much less than unique, bespoke examples.
At the top end, significant Venetian mirrors have sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds at auction, such as the 18th century Italian blue glass, engraved glass and parcel-gilt Venetian mirror sold for £135,550 at Sotheby’s in December 2000.
Examples can be found for a few hundred on auction sites such as eBay, and in antique shops.
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