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18th Century French Trumeau Mirror

Featuring a classic late 18th century design, this trumeau mirror is composed of a rectangular gilt wood frame with a mounted oil painting above the original inset mirror. Developed in France during the 1700s, trumeau mirrors arose from the incorporation of glass into elaborately carved decorative wall panels, known as boiserie. As glass became less expensive to manufacture during the 18th century, mirrors were inset in these boiserie panels to add a reflective decorative element to the wall and allow additional light to be thrown into the room. Originally utilized as a mantel fixture, the combination of the decorative element above an inset mirror became a popular ornamentation for the trumeau – the thin section of wall between two doors or windows. The installation of trumeau mirrors was reserved for the affluent, and commissioned scenic paintings often replaced the wooden sculptural element.
Above the original glass, this trumeau mirror displays an oil on canvas painting rich with 18th century French Colonial influences. Detailed with quintessential symbols of the New World, the Agostino Brunias style colonial background depicts a lush mountainous scene featuring a Royal Palm, which is now the national tree of Haiti, and a banana style palm resembling those grown in the colonial French Antilles. Opposite the palms are two women gathered around an open trunk at the entrance of large hacienda style estate. Both women are shown in relatively simple lower-middle-class dress, though vividly colored in white, blue and red. One is shown sitting on the edge of an open trunk gesturing to the interior, while the other appears to be gifting a laurel branch to red and blue-green toned parrot. The positioning suggests they are attempting to lure the bird into the trunk, which was a common practice in the late 18th century West Indian colonies due to the flourishing exotic pet market in Europe. To the modern eye, this piece may seem to make a broader statement regarding colonialist cultural appropriation. To late 18th century French contemporaries, such decoration was illustrative of the far-flung yet familiar exotic landscapes they accessed to ornament their walls.
The entire piece measures 52″ high, 27 1/2″ wide, and 2 1/2″ deep. Currently priced at $1,650.

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