The Allure of the Bejewelled Irish Mirror

19th Century Irish Waterford Pair of Oval Mirrors

Throughout 18th and 19th centuries. Ireland had a rich glass-making tradition in well-known centers like Cork and Waterford. Whilst there was glass manufacture in Waterford before the 18th century, the county’s production took on its infamous name with the establishment of the Waterford Glasshouse in 1783, founded by businessmen George and William Penrose.

Made of rectangular, faceted glass, the “jewels” are silver lined on the reverse and laid side-by-side. The dark blue, purple, green gilt enriched glass studs are arranged to alternate with white, the latter grooved on the back, and these groves or flutes then gilded. Outlining the frame and holding the “jewels” in place is a continuous copper bezel. Some frames have a carved gadrooned edge and beading detail.

The elegance of the Irish Waterford mirror certainly causes a favourable and lasting first impression.  It’s sparkling glass studs never fail to catch the eye of all those passing by.  The light and charming design of the oval mirrors, make it easy to incorporate this traditionally styled piece into modern interiors.

Please browse through our website to see some of our fine pieces in both our Dublin and New York Galleries.

by O'Sullivan Antiques