Oscar Wilde, the Irish playwright said, "I have found that ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful."
The artist/blacksmith Edgar William Brandt had a great facility for making objects that were both beautiful and useful, and therefore satisfying to the soul. All three of those attributes apply to the mirror with the fountain motif. In 1924, Brandt was preparing a display room of his work for viewing at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs and Industriels Modernes. In that room, he placed a five-panel screen called L'Oasis. The frozen fountain motif served as the focal point for a luxurious and exotic tropical garden, surrounded by gear- like flowers and large palm shaped leaves. L'Oasis subsequently became the icon of Art Moderne.
The octagonal mirror offered here is a gem, a distillation of the waterfall, but rendered in a smaller and jewel like manner. Thirteen stylized flowers and leaves gracefully surround the water that emanates from a lotus flower. As the water falls, one sees tiny round balls that allude to droplets. This delicate imagery sits on top of the mirror as a tiara sits upon the head of a queen.
To further enhance the mirror, Brandt silvered and gilded both the frame and the crest, thus achieving a patina of richness and brilliance. After experiencing the great popularity of his work at the exhibition of 1925, Brandt continued with the theme of fountains and stylized flowers. The art moderne ferronnerie that Brandt had pioneered and proselytized during his career is encapsulated in this wrought-iron mirror.