Meaning of Ornament
The magnificent porcelain-shelved frame, of flower-festooned palms and Roman acanthus, is conceived in the French 'picturesque' manner and celebrates the Arts of China. A feather-clad Chinese fan-bearing attendant guards the mirror crest; while dragon-like eagles, emerging at the sides, unveil sacred drapery and reveal porcelain figures or vases (missing) displayed on the foliage-wrapped baskets of Chinese-attendant caryatids. The latter's scrolled trusses emerge from the base's shell-enriched cartouche displaying an Oriental nature deity.
The design relates to patterns published in London in the mid eighteenth century such as Matthias Lock's, Six Sconces, 1744; and the porcelain-shelved frames in Thomas Johnson's Collection of Designs, 1758.