The designs of the Victorian era, which lasted from 1835 to roughly 1903, are encapsulated by the abundant, ornate, and largely cluttered look of the typical middle or late Victorian home. One hallmark of Victorian design that persists today is the Victorian mirror, an elegant adornment appropriate for a home seeking a subtle opulence for any interior.
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Size and Shape
According to the website VictorianMirror.com, the standard Victorian mirror is long and rectangular, though some are squares, ovals, or more rarely, perfect circles. Mirrors were traditionally very large so that they might be hung in strategic locations to better highlight key features of a room. However, today they can be found in all sizes, from small hand-held mirrors to wall-sized mirrors. Mirrors made to be attached to dressers specifically are large and oblong.
The frame of a Victorian mirror is ornate and covered with flowers, scallops, and other such flounces. Frames can be made of a precious metal, such as silver or gold, a type of fabric such as velvet, or a type of wood, usually with a dark polished finish. Designs can be hand-carved or hand-painted, which thereby increases the value of the mirror. Some Victorian ladies preferred to decorate the mirrors themselves, using ribbons, flowers and other crafts items.
The cost of the mirror itself may vary from hundreds of dollars to many thousands of dollars, depending on the year it was made, the material it was made from, and the weight of the mirror. If the mirror was hand-carved, or is an antique--made many years ago--you can expect to pay substantially more for it. See an experienced antiques appraiser to determine the real value of any mirror you suspect may be valuable--or overvalued--or a rare antique before paying an exorbitant price for it.
Caring properly for your Victorian mirror is essential, especially if it is a true relic from the Victorian age. Clean the frame of your mirror with a bit of cheesecloth and a small amount of an appropriate wood or metal cleaner, and clean the mirror's face with a separate rag and a streak-free window cleaner. Spots or marks will detract from the mirror's beauty.
Make Your Own
Due to the potentially high cost of these mirrors, you might find it cheaper and interesting to try and recreate the Victorian design on your own. Take an ordinary mirror and cover the frame with velvet or plush. Take fake flowers, shells, and ornamental appliques and attach them around the frame in a decorative manner. You can attempt to paint the frame or stitch the appliques to the fabric itself.
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