9095 A VERY FINE AN UNUSAL GILTWOOD MIRROR Probably Würzburg. Circa 1735. Measurements: Height: 61″ (154.9 cm); Width: 37 1/4″ (94.6 cm); Depth: 6″ (15cm).
Of carved limewood retaining its original gilding. The curvaceous frame with carved repeating c-scroll motifs overlaid with a system of finely carved bullrushes and floral clusters.
This extraordinary mirror with its super-fine carving and highly distinctive fluid design bears striking similarities to a series of carved and gilded mirror frames applied to the interior doors of the great Mirror Cabinet in the Southern Imperial Apartments of the Residenz, Würzburg. The Mirror Cabinet, which was executed between 1740-45, was the most celebrated interior of the Residenz and was commissioned by the famous Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn (reigned 1729-46).
A double set of doors in this magnificent room is decorated with four mirrors with carved surrounds which echo the narrow curvaceous form of the present mirror and employ the same decorative vocabulary of bullrushes and foliate rocaille scrolls.
The designs for ornamental carving to the mirrored walls are attributed to the sculptor and graphic artist to the Würzburg court, Johann Wolfgang van der Auvera, and it seems likely that he was also responsible for conceiving the mirrored doors.
The house of the Counts of Schönborn, to which Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl belonged, was a highly influential family whose members held power in several of the ecclesiastical principalities of Franconia during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As a result this area of mid-Germany beame a political and cultural centre in the last years of the Holy Roman Empire. Furthermore, as a result of Schönborn family patronage, during the first half of the eighteenth century the region was at the heart of European architecture and design.
From the mid-1730s Balthasar Neumann, the Würzburg court architect, brought together a group of gifted craftsmen and artisans from across Europe to work on the Residenz, including Auvera and the wood carver Ferdinand Hund, together with artists from Italy, France and the Netherlands. This critical mass of talent resulted in the creation of Würzburg rococo, one of the richest and most exuberant incarnations of the style, and one which is well represented by the present mirror.