This grand Palladian pier glass was made by the celebrated 'Looking Glass Merchants', 'glass-grinders' and 'glass sellers', Francis and John Booker. It bears the remains of the brother's label on the reverse with their names neatly framed by a rococo border. It must date from soon after their father's death (John Booker died in 1750) as its ornament shows no hint of the rococo flourishes that adorn their later work. The extent of their wares is revealed in the beautiful trade card (lot 52) which incorporates a delicate rococo border interspersed with illustrations and a long detailed list. The two brothers are listed in premises in Essex Bridge, Dublin which is where their father is recorded from 1715. Francis Booker rose to become Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1772 and died later that year, leaving the business to be carried on by his brother. John Booker, who was also a carver and gilder, continued the shop in Essex Bridge until 1786 when he moved to Jervis Street. Three years later he was also dead, and the experience of two generations of looking-glass sellers died with him.
The architectural composition of this mirror is very close in form to designs by William Jones in his The Gentleman's or Builders Companion containing a variety of useful designs for doors, gateways, peers, pavilions, temples, chimney-pieces, slab tables, pier glasses, or tabernacle frames, ceiling pieces, etc., 1739 (see Irish Furniture, fig. 193). Jones's book was imported into Dublin in the same year and was sold for 12s. by Robert Owen in Skinners Row; and one can easily imagine a well worn copy owned by the Bookers at 6 Essex Bridge.
Although they seldom appear on the market, this pier glass belongs to a documented group by the Booker brothers, formerly at Charleville, Co. Enniskerry, and in the collection of the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, amongst others, discussed in Irish Furniture, fig. 194, cat. nos. 224-226.