Large Circa 1850 Napoleon III Gilt Mirror


In stock


Substantial in scale and style, this Napoleon III-period gilt mirror recalls the characteristics of nineteenth-century French design. As the last French monarch, Napoleon III’s reign was defined by tumultuous political upheaval. He was initially elected as the first French president in 1848 before seizing power as Emperor of the French in 1851. Until his death in 1870, Napoleon III encouraged an artistic revival of Roman antiquity in hopes of associating his rule with that classical grandeur. This overmantel mirror, the frame magnificently decorated with elaborate scrollwork, originated at the beginning of his reign circa 1850. The intricately carved floral trim, popular in the period, is most beautifully accomplished with delicately petaled garlands along the top of the mirror. The surrounding acanthus vines further reflect the ornate artisanship distinctive of this historical French conception of luxury. The mirror’s impressive size—three hundred pounds in weight, almost seven feet in height—is also another testament to that preference for opulence. Considering its dimensions, this mirror could be specially mounted over a large fireplace or simply leaned against a wall as a statement piece.

Overall Dimensions: H= 82 in. W= 52 in. D= 6 in., 300 lbs.

Dimensions of the main mirror glass part, from the seam down H= 61 in. W= 38 in.

Additional information

Weight 300 lbs
Dimensions L 6 x W 52 x H 92 in
Style / Period

Napoleon III

Year / Century


Place of Origin



Wood / Glass Mirror


There are minor nicks, scratches, cracks, and chips on the hand-carved trim molding of the frame. There are professional repairs to the moldings. The gilding has been retouched, especially on the top left crown molding (see image). There are spots of oxidation on the mirror but not readily visible. Wear is consistent with age throughout.

There are two parts of mirror glass. The separation line is just under the carved floral swags. Please see the images of the seam. Not sure why the glazier used a portion of mirrored glass at the top, near the carved swags, and then, there is another mirrored glass section that completes the mirror? Not being a mirror maker, it could be because it was too complicated to set the mirror glass into the frame while not breaking the swag molding. Due to the size and fragile nature of the trim, we recommend white glove shipping. 300 lbs.

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