A GEORGE II GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR INSET WITH CHINESE EXPORT REVERSE MIRROR PAINTINGS
A GEORGE II GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR INSET WITH CHINESE EXPORT REVERSE MIRROR PAINTINGS
A GEORGE II GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR INSET WITH CHINESE EXPORT REVERSE MIRROR PAINTINGS
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more
A GEORGE II GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR INSET WITH CHINESE EXPORT REVERSE MIRROR PAINTINGS

CIRCA 1760

Details
A GEORGE II GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR INSET WITH CHINESE EXPORT REVERSE MIRROR PAINTINGS
CIRCA 1760
The shaped plates within a gilt foliate scroll frame, the outer panels decorated with scenes of landscapes, colorfully plumed birds, flora and fauna
58 in. (147.5 cm.) high, 73 in. (185.5 cm.) wide
Provenance
Newstead Abbey, Nottingham; Knight, Frank & Rutley, 10 January 1921, lot 830.
Literature
Country Life Magazine, 1 Jan., 1921; vol. XLIX, no. 1252, Suppl. p. xxiv. (Illustrated)
M. Harris and Sons, A Catalogue and Index of Old Furniture and Works of Decorative Art From Late Sixteenth Century - Early Nineteenth Century, Pt. II, London, 1938, p. 194, pl. XIII 4.
The Chinese Porcelain Company, Chinese Glass Paintings & Export Porcelain, New York, 8 October - 9 November, 1996, p. 26, no. 9.
Thierry Audric, Chinese reverse glass painting 1720-1820 An artistic meeting between China and the West, Peter Lang, 2020, p. 138 & 140, fig. 93.
Exhibited
The Chinese Porcelain Company, Chinese Glass Paintings & Export Porcelain, New York, 8 October - 9 November, 1996.
Special notice

Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.
Sale room notice
Please note additional provenance and literature has been added to the cataloguing text. This information reflects correctly online. The provenance is from the sale of Newstead Abbey, Nottingham, on 10 January 1921. The lot was illustrated in a supplemental issue of Country Life Magazine on 1 January 1921.

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Lot Essay

This monumental mirror is remarkable not only for its unusually large scale but equally for its elaborate scene painting within a beautifully drawn giltwood frame. The frame follows the designs of London's pre-eminent cabinet-makers such as John Linnell or Thomas Chippendale. The pairing of reverse painted mirror glass with flat glass represents the ingenuity and collaboration between Chinese and British artists of the mid-18th century.
THE ART OF CHINESE MIRROR PAINTING
The practice of painting on mirrors developed in China after 1715 when the Jesuit missionary Father Castiglione arrived in Beijing. He found favor with the Emperors Yongzheng and Qianlong and was entrusted with the decoration of the Imperial Garden in Beijing. He learned to paint in oil on glass, a technique that was already practiced in Europe but which was unknown in China in 1715. Chinese artists, already expert in painting and calligraphy, took up the practice, tracing the outlines of their designs on the back of the plate and, using a special steel implement, scraping away the mirror backing to reveal glass that could then be painted. Glass paintings were made almost entirely for export, fueled by the mania in Europe for all things Chinese. Although glass vessels had long been made in China, the production of flat glass was not accomplished until the 19th century. Even in the Imperial glass workshops, set up in Beijing in 1696 under the supervision of the Bavarian Jesuit Kilian Stumpf, window glass or mirrored glass was not successfully produced. As a result, from the middle of the 18th century onwards, when reverse glass painting was already popular in Europe, sheets of both clear and mirrored glass were sent to Canton from Europe. They most often depicted bucolic landscapes, frequently with sumptuously dressed Chinese figures at leisurely pursuits. Once in Europe the best were often placed in elaborate giltwood Chippendale or Chinoiserie frames.
Related examples of overmantel mirrors incorporating Chinese mirror paintings include one sold Christie’s, New York, 21 January 1999, lot 557 ($85,000) attributed to William and John Linnell and dated from 1755. For another example that features similarly beautiful reverse-painted panels dated from 1765 and previously in the collection of the Hon. Mrs. George Keppel see Christie’s, New York, 18-19 April 2012, lot 57 ($290,500) and subsequently sold Christie's, London, 7 July 2016, lot 322 (£194,500).

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