This 18th-century Italian mirror in a gilded bronze frame features the dazzling craftsmanship of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Italy, Naples or Sicily, early 18th century, gilt bronze mirror decorated with mother-of-pearl, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite and glass painted as imitation marble, 90 x 59.5 cm
It was hard not to notice it. In the showroom, this Baroque mirror caught the eye of all those present. At €383,540, the result, high as it may be, was only fair because of its beauty and rarity. Pieces enhanced with mother-of-pearl and coral invariably cross each other and stand out by their prices, but this one is out of the ordinary. Foliage-shaped cut mother-of-pearl, coral, malachite, lapis lazuli and glass painted as imitation marble are set in the frame’s gilded bronze acanthus leaves. The delicate working of materials generously offered up by the sea attests to the great technical skills that 18th-century craftsmen developed in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It is hard to decide whether the mirror was made by a Neapolitan or a Sicilian, for coral was harvested in Naples, Torre del Greco and Trapani.