My sister has already hinted at our obsession with European Sunburst Mirrors. I had purchased a mirror or two before one of our trips to Paris, but then we wandered past a Parisian restaurant one summer several years ago with doors wide open and both caught a glimpse of their vintage sunburst mirrors decorating the walls. They were EVERYWHERE, and we were hooked. They're not exactly easy to find (and certainly not reasonably priced ones), but I have a source in Europe that has provided me with over a dozen mirrors over the last few years that are easy on the pocketbook. Problem is, my daughter lays claim to them as soon as they arrive. I've also sold a few (stupid me), given my niece one as a wedding shower gift and one to Eileen. But no more. I've recently acquired three lovely ones, and they'll be hung in my bedroom very soon.
This wall of mirrors in my daughter's living room is stunning. The antique and vintage mirrors were always made of wood and the "rays" are carved. Patterns are endless and they range from small to very large, simple to elaborate. The "rays" can also be layered which adds even more interest and beauty. The '50s and '60s brought a new twist to the mirrors. They began making them out of metal as well, sometimes incorporating mirrors in the rays in addition to the center circular mirror . . . or a clock was inserted in place of the center mirror. Those all command high prices today as well. With the popularity of the antique and vintage sunbursts, it was inevitable that companies would start producing them again, but this time they are done in resin. They still generally cost several hundred dollars each, but if you want the charm of the old you will need to be careful what you are buying is indeed made of wood. Turning them over and inspecting the back is the best way to determine.
The centerpiece of the mirror wall is this huge ca. 1930s mirror measuring 32 inches in diameter. The design using the large fat "squiggly" rays is something not often found..
The bigger the better is usually the case with sunburst mirrors . . . except for this little gem. I've only seen one other similar to this, and they referred to it as a "cloud" mirror. Makes sense. The sun's rays are breaking through the clouds. The other "cloud" mirror I found was listed on 1stdibs. This website of high end antiques dealers is always fun to explore and has a nice selection of sunbursts, but be prepared to be blown away at their prices!
This is by far the oldest mirror I've found. I believe it to be pre-1900s. The structure of this mirror is really interesting to see from behind and from the sides. It is built up in several thick carved layers. As a result, it protrudes quite far out from the wall.
Another lovely large mirror constructed so that the rays form a square. Sunburst mirrors are generally gold gilt, but this has a silver overlay which works perfectly with the color scheme in my daughter's master bedroom.
Although not a sunburst, this square example belongs to the sunburst family of mirrors, and interior decorators are crazy about these as well. This is the first I've found of this kind, and it's waiting to be hung -- you guessed it -- at my daughter's house. It measures 12 inches square and is ca. 1920, perhaps older.
LAST THREE LEFT TO HANG AT MY HOUSE!
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