This Regency convex gilt-framed mirror used to hang in the drawing room at Derwen. I remember it there, so I was delighted to find this photograph in the archives, of that same drawing room and mirror:
The mirror was inherited by my Mum after Auntie’s death in 1971, along with the Chesterfield sofa also featured in the above photo. (The sofa remained in our house for the rest of Mum’s life, and she restored it herself when she did an upholstery course in her retirement). It is possible that the mirror had been inherited by Auntie before that; perhaps it was one of the many Fry family heirlooms owned by her friend Elsie. It is even old and grand enough to have hung on a wall at Bentworth Hall. It now hangs on one of mine, above the fireplace in my living room. It is not quite as grand as it once was, having been knocked about a bit over the years, and some of the finer ornamental bits having fallen off. And one piece in particular having been removed.
When Mum inherited it, the mirror had a large gilt eagle perched on the top. My parents considered this flourish far too grand and ostentatious for our home, so the eagle was carefully removed and packed away in a box in the attic – where we discovered it 30 years later, when clearing the house after their deaths. Both mirror and eagle subsequently came to me, but I left the dusty box unopened until a recent visit from Brother 1. We opened it for the first time in 40 years over a glass of champagne:
It was quite exciting to open a box that had been unopened for so many years. Dad had used a Sainsbury’s Large Tissues box, which is easy to date due to the price given: 10 and a half New Pence. So, after decimalisation in 1971 but before the 1/2p coin was decommissioned in 1984. I’m pretty sure it was packed away as soon as it arrived at our house in 1971/2 and it’s a pleasure to see it again after so long. Someday soon I plan to have the mirror – eagle and all – restored to its former glory.
(Incidentally, the beautiful painting you can see reflected in the mirror on my wall is the work of my good friend Milton Grubert, who has helped me with many photographs for this blog).