Large Louis XIV-style mirror called "huguenot" intricately crafted of tortoise shell veneer and repoussé brass. A prized specimen of 17th-century French design, this Napoleon III mirror boasts a rich ornamentation of floral motifs, foliage and fruits. The central peak is ornamented with mascaron, scrollwork and foliage. The mirror is framed with a large band of brass sculpted with vegetal motifs. The corners are richly embellished, and thin bands of molded wood surround the frame.
Dim: W: 27,2 in - D: 3,1in - H: 44,9in.
Dim: L:69cm, P:8cm, H:114cm.
In good overall condition, with light wear consistent with age and use.
Louis XIV made being a Protestant illegal when he revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685. From that time until Louis XVI signed the Edict of Tolerance in 1787, Protestant families were forced to practice their religion in secret. Worship services took place mostly in homes around a family leader who reunited his relatives to read the Bible and to pray. Because the punishment they risked was severe, Protestants used numerous objects to hide their Bibles, such as this mirror, called "huguenot" because of the clandestine purpose it served. Provided with a double bottom, it allowed the forbidden book to be hidden from the eyes of the king's soldiers. This type of rectangular mirror with a double frame was very fashionable during Louis XIV reign and through the end of the 18th century. A revival of the Louis XIV style took place in France in the mid-19th century. This period, known as the Second Empire, opted for a mixture of styles from previous centuries, particularly the styles of the Ancien Regime.