A rare and exceptional Charles XII glass-gilded mirror - by Gustav Precht, on a red background; This is a - Miroir à fronton. The confronting C-scrolled arched cresting decorated with floral trails and surmounted by flower-filled vases, above a rectangular wooden, bronze and gilt-lead frame with glass-gilded divided plate. Overall richly decorated with a gilt and etched C-scrolled and guarlands decoration on a red background, and with a rich ornamentation, in the spirit of Jean Ier Bérain or Daniel Marot, such as flower-filled vases, scrolling foliage, roses, entablatures, ova-clasps and mouldings. Charles XII period, Stockholm, beginning of the 18th Century.
Gustav Precht (1698 - 1763) and the technique of glass agglomeration
Designed with the imitation of marquetry, called Boulle, the mirrors out of conglomized glass remain objects of exception, with very high price intended them mainly for the princely residences or those of rich collectors. Just as rare as mirrors with inlaid copper and tortoiseshell frames, their decoration is generally inspired, like the latter, by ornamental engravings by Jean I Bérain or Daniel Marot. One is very badly informed on the craftsmen practicing the art of the eglomized glass and the history preserved only the memory of Jean-Baptiste Glomy (about 1711 - 1786), draughtsman and Parisian framer, whose name is at the origin of the name of this technique. Practised since Antiquity, this rather complex process experienced a revival of interest in Europe from the end of the seventeenth century: it consisted in fixing under glass a decoration executed with gold leaf and engraved with the tip, then covered with coloured varnishes. According to Glomy, the glass to be decorated was coated on one side with - mucus - (a mixture of egg white and water), on which was placed a gold or silver leaf. Once the pattern had dried, it was carefully drawn with a fine needle, the background scraped off, then repainted to bring out the whole decor. Preserved in very limited number, the mirrors out of eglomized glass are characterized by their gilded decoration on red or blue bottom, even, more rarely, black.
The Precht Dynasty
Our mirror is characteristic of the achievements of Burchard Precht and his son Gustav. Originally from Bremen, Germany, Burchard Precht settled in Stockholm in 1674, where he actively participated in the furnishing of Drottningholm Palace. In 1682, he was appointed Sculptor of the Court of Charles XI and was commissioned by the latter to accompany, in 1687, the Court Architect, Nicodemus Ticino the Younger, to Rome and Paris, in order to study the new Baroque aesthetic concepts for the construction of the new Royal Palace of Stockholm. His sons Gustav (1698 - 1763) and Christian (1706 - 1779) continued his work and also had great success, the second in the field of goldsmithing.
The general appearance of our mirror seems to be directly inspired by the French glazing bead models distributed, at that time, throughout Europe, through collections of ornamentalists, such as the New Book of Ornaments, for the usefulness of Daniel Marot's Sculpers et Orfèvres, published around 1700, or the numerous drawings and engravings by Jean I Bérain. The use of wood, bronze and gold lead for the structure and ornamentation of their mirrors is very characteristic of the Precht father and son's production. Similarly, some patterns such as flower baskets or, sometimes, two putti, sitting on entablatures turning their backs, are also very characteristic.
A very close Gustav Precht mirror, in blue crystal, is reproduced on the cover page of the book by S. Roche, G. Courage and P. Devinoy : Mirrors (photo attached), Ancienne Collection Kugel - Paris (Height 122 x Width 69 cm). A second, of similar shape, (other photo attached) in blue coloured glass, is illustrated in the book by T. Sylven and E. Welander-Berggren : Speglar, Spegelmakare & Fabrikörer i Sverige, 1650-1850 and is currently in a Private Collection. A third, in engraved glass, reproduced in the catalogue of the Wrightsman collection, is identical to ours in shape (photo attached): old Wrightsman collection - New York (Height 131 cm). A fourth, of smaller dimensions (129.5 x 69 cm), identical to ours, in glass églomisé on red background, appears in a private collection in Belgium : last photo attached of this mirror currently in a Belgian Private collection. The latter has recently been restored.
Really good condition
Les Miroirs, 1650 - 1900, Graham Child, Éditions Flammarion, Paris, 1991. Miroirs, S. Roche, G. Courage & P. Devinoy, Bibliothèque des Arts, Paris, 1986. La Collection Wrightsman, F.J.B. Watson, New-York, 1966 (Volume II). Speglar, Spegelmakare & Fabrikörer i Sverige, 1650 - 1850, T. Sylvén et E. Welander-Berggren, Stockholm, 2000. Nordiska Museet Möbler Fran Svenska Herremansken, Wallin Signord, Stockholm, 1931 - 1935 (Volume I - III). Terminology of verre églomisé, Rudy Eswarin, Journal of Glass Studies, Volume 21, 1979. Thieme and Becker, Leipzig, 1999 (27/28, S. 367), Nouveau Livre d'ornemens, pour l'utilité des Sculpteurs et Orfèvres, Daniel Marot, vers 1700.
Former Collection Marcel Bissey - Paris. Galerie Partridge - London. Private Collection - Germany.