Sunday 22 September 2013

Stuart Embroidered Mirror * Antiques Roadshow * Sunday 15 September 2013

I was thrilled to see this astonishing Stuart embroidered mirror together with a panel depicting the Judgement of Solomon turn up on last week's Antique Roadshow. Sometime ago we posted about the antique mirror shown in Argo which had been stage set for the Canadian embassy in Iran because the similarity in profile to some of the Stuart mirrors was quite remarkable.  These items may have been influenced by imports via the East India Company, or by the establishment in 1622 of the first English embassy in Turkey.

And the distinctive form of the mirror on the Antiques Roadshow seems to bear this comparison out.

A lute-player is flanked by two architectural motifs which are commonly seen on Stuart panels.

Facing images of a king and queen at the horizontal mid point are also a common feature of these mirrors.

Here you can enjoy some close up detail of the lute-player

And a manor house with smoking chimneys - you cannot fail to notice the parlous state of the silk satin ground which is beginning to shred with age.

In the lower left-hand corner is a rockpool fed by a water spout with a surfacing fish. And to the right you can see the well-known lion, a frequent star of Stuart embroidered panels and mirrors.  

For me, an interesting feature is the rarely seen, more naturalistically, perhaps more modern, lute-player at the base. This mirror was valued at around £15,000 in its present state.

Other examples of mirrors of this style can be seen in the V&A. The one above has a frame painted to resemble lacquer work.
In the other V&A example above you can perhaps see the planned outline for this unfinished embroidery, which again matches the other examples.

The panel of Solomon and the two disputing mothers is remarkable for showing the drawing of the executing soldier's face which remains incomplete. This panel was valued at around £10,000.


  1. what a fabulous post - thank you for sharing these amazing pieces.

  2. Once again, I am awestruck. The talent shown is so incredibly remarkable. Thank you for sharing.