This is an extremely rare example of strawwork or paille decoration on a form traditionally associated with raised stump work or needlwork. Retaining its original 'Italian' marbled paper backing, it probably celebrates an engagement or a marriage, representing a couple in Arcadia. The naive approach to proportion is typical of these fantastic creations of the Charles II period, and the fantasy is further enhanced by beasts, often with symbolic meanings. The diligent worker could purchase models of faces and hands, made both of wood and composition, along with moulds for the fruit and the outlines of the creatures in the form of transfers.
A related mirror, similarly fretted with scalloped centres and corners, depicts birds derived from John Overton's, New Book of all Sorts of Beasts, 1671. The latter mirror was photographed in W.H. Lever's London collection at The Hill, Hampstead around 1906 (X. Brooke, Catalogue of Embroideries, Lady Lever Art Gallery, 1992, pp.195-6). A similar dome-shaped stumpwork mirror, dated on the reverse 1672, is illustrated with its original oak travelling case in R.W. Symonds English Furniture from Charles II to George II, London, 1929, p.7, fig. 4 from the Percival Griffiths Collection. Further related needlework examples can be seen in L. Arther, Embroidery 1600-1700 at The Burrel Collection, Glasgow, 1995, pp. 59-74.
A needlework mirror frame of a similar form was sold at Christie's South Kensington, 23 June 1987, lot 159 from an Important Collection of Needlework.