The window-pier mirrors, with urn-capped temple pediments and rustic pillars reflect the George II 'Modern' fashion popularised by Thomas Chippendale's, Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director (1754); and evoke lyric poetry and the triumph of the light-giving deity Apollo according to Ovid's Metamorphoses (Loves of the Gods). Each tympanum displays Love's sacred urn shaded by palms that issue from the gothic-pointed and naturally serpentined arch of a water-dripping grotto, which is railed by flowered-trellis recalling Rome's Temple of Venus. James Paine was foremost amongst the architects working in this French 'picturesque' manner, and supervised the embellishment of Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, where a closely related japanned and gilded mirror has been identified with a design for a bedchamber pier-glass executed in 1752 by the Bow Street carver John Bladwell (d.1768) (M. Snodin, ed. Rococo, 1984, no. L27). The present frames are possibly designed to redisplay the mirror-plate from early 18th century glasses.
The inscription on the reverse of one mirror may refer to James Norie, or his eldest son, also James. The former was a notable painter of decorative landscapes and was assisted in his work as house painter and decorator by his sons James (d.1736) and Robert. Among their work was the decoration of the State Bedroom at Hopetoun House in 1739 and the business persisted until the mid-19th century. Another James Norrie is listed in Francis Bamford, A Dictionary of Edinburgh Furniture Makers, Leeds, 1983, p.92 as Deacon of the Incorporation of Wrights 1743-45. We are grateful to Sebastian Pryke for his help in preparing this note.