The medallioned pier-glasses, with torus-moulded frames wreathed in flowered ribbon-guilloches, would have been commissioned by Charles, 5th Duke of Bolton. They were designed in the French antique fashion by John Vardy (d.1765), and their ornament alludes to the Bolton family motto 'Love Loyalty'. Venus's scallop-shell badges serve as Love trophies and are clasped to the mirror-bases amongst sprays of Roman acanthus. Acanthus leaves entwine and garland the frames with husk-festoons, and terminate in Corinthian capitals, whose richly voluted foliage recalls the tripod-finial of the Athenian Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. This monument, popularly associated with the Grecian orator and known as the 'Lanthorn of Demosthenes', had been studied in the 1750s by the architect James Stuart (d.1788). His studies had been sponsored by a group of connoisseurs, known as the 'Society of Dilletanti', and it was they, who played the supervisory role in John Vardy and James Stuart's embellishment of John 1st Earl Spencer's London mansion in the late 1750s. At Spencer House the 'Demosthenes' finial served to crown a grand lantern that hung in the stair-well.
In 1758 Vardy designed related oval pier-glasses for Spencer's Great Dining-Room. (J. Friedman, Spencer House, London, 1993, p. 137, fig. 106 and p. 113, fig. 78 and C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, vol. III, Leeds, 1998, p. 651). This design provides the source for the scroll cresting on these Bolton mirrors. However, the principal source for the Hackwood mirrors derives from the architect William Kent's Corinthian-capitalled composition, celebrating the 'Art of Architecture', that Vardy adapted as the frontispiece of Some Designs of Mr Inigo Jones and Mr William Kent, 1748. In addition their husk-issuing acanthus featured on an Inigo Jones chimneypiece that Kent had adapted in the 1730s for Countess Burlington's 'Diana' chimneypiece at Chiswick villa (Some Designs, op. cit. fig. 35).
The mirrors have been gilded twice. They were originally oil gilded over a thickly sized gesso layer. They were then water gilded over a thin skim of gesso, probably in the early 19th Century. The present gilding is the same as that on the smaller pair of rectangular mirrors (lot 51) and the two pairs of pier tables and their mirrors (lots 52-55).