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Federal Mirrors 101

I have always loved our Federal Mirror.   I love the family history, the stunning eagle at the top and the beautiful round size.  We inherited the mirror from my husband's family and, although I love it, I had no idea of the history of these mirrors.  Fast forward to July when I visited Winter Park and my friend Maria and she shared all of the knowledge she had about federal mirrors.  I knew instantly I had to come home and do some research and learn all the details.

The Federal Era refers to the thirty year period from 1776 to 1806 after the formation of the United States. Architecture, furnishings and decorative embellishments of this era were reminiscent of Neoclassical Style, including influences from Greece and Rome which was the style in Europe and England at the time.  Federal (or Convex) Mirrors were round and convex in shape and when matched with candles perfectly illuminated the room. The mirrors were constructed of hardwood and over laid with gold leaf or bronze gilt.

Federal mirrors are symmetrical, both on the sides and the top and bottom.  If the mirror has a symbol at the top, it will also have one on the bottom. The symbols shown on the mirror reflected the newly formed America.  The eagle at the top represented Independence and strength, the balls, feathers or stars represented the the thirteen colonies, and additional symbols, such as shafts of wheat, flowers and olive branches can also be used.  In some occasions candle sconces are present, as well as arrows and spears which were used to show the fight for independence. 

Image via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Design by Suzanne Kasler

Image via Traditional Home, Design by Tom Cialone

Image via House & Garden Magazine, Design by Beata Heuman

Our mirror seems to be simple in the many examples I have located.  I love the idea of candle sconces, and have hunted for examples at all my favorite online resale locations. Although I have found some beautiful mirrors, I have yet to find one with candles that I can afford. I have seen so many stunning ones, but anything with more than one zero is out of my budget.  Some of the ones I have seen are well in the 100K+ zone, and, of course, they are show stoppers! It will be something I can hunt for when I am out antiquing, which is most definitely a favorite hobby of mine.

I am so thankful my friend Maria started chatting about her mirrors, I learned so much and it sparked an interest in me to learn more.  I adore my friends.  They have such impeccable taste and I have so much to learn from some of the incredible things they collect.  😍  This is just two of her incredible collection of mirrors, and a sneak at her beautiful home! 

Have the best weekend, and come back tomorrow.  I have such a treat for you from my friend Maria's home ... her porch!

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