Title: Mirror
Date: c.1750
Medium: Carved giltwood
236 x 194 cm
Credit Line: Milltown Gift, 1902
Object Number: NGI.12090
DescriptionAn outstanding piece of carving, more sculpture than furniture, this mirror reflects the Rococo love of nature and the exotic, with chinoiserie elements in the pagoda shape and Chinese heads, alongside palm fronds, leaves and flowers, shells, mossy rocks, poured water, shells and ribbons. At the top, two squawking dragons sit either side of the central broken pediment, and there is a small bird (almost concealed) at the base. This was one of five large mirrors, seven smaller oval ones and two overmantels for paintings commissioned by Joseph Leeson for his various homes, from a Dublin maker, who is yet to be satisfactorily identified. The flamboyance of their decoration and lavish application of gilding is very different from more conservative London examples, even though the source of many decorative motifs can be found in published engravings by Thomas Chippendale, Mathias Lock and Thomas Johnson. The reverse, never intended to be seen is, conversely, almost crudely chiselled in places. This mirror still has its original glass, unlike a pendant of the same size with a cascade of Rococo ornament. They once hung in the dining room at Leeson’s country house, Russborough, complementing a 1742–43 silver dinner service by George Wickes (now dispersed) and individual pieces by Dublin and London makers.

March 2016
Label TextJoseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown, commissioned the two mirrors displayed here for his dining room at Russborough, Co. Wicklow. They took pride of place alongside his portrait by Pompeo Batoni. Outstanding examples of Rococo design, by an unknown maker, the ornamental detail includes palm fronds, flowers, a bird, mossy rocks and dripping water, and a Chinese pagoda. At the top, a pair of snarling dragons flank a broken pediment and pierced bands with C curves. These elaborate sculptural forms and lack of hard edges make the mirror difficult to move and handle.

This website uses cookies

We use optional cookies to enhance your user experience and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services.


About Cookies

Cookies are small text files that can be used by websites to make a user's experience more efficient. The law states that we can store cookies on your device if they are strictly necessary for the operation of this site. For all other types of cookies we need your permission. This site uses different types of cookies. Some cookies are placed by third party services that appear on our pages. You can at any time change or withdraw your consent from the Cookie Declaration on our website. Learn more about who we are, how you can contact us and how we process personal data in our Privacy Policy. Please state your consent ID and date when you contact us regarding your consent.

Necessary Cookies

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

JSESSIONIDeMuseumUser SessionSessionHTTP

Statistics Cookies

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

_gaGoogle Tag ManagerRegisters a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.2 yearsJavaScript
_gidGoogle Tag ManagerRegisters a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.1 dayJavaScript