Did you know that mirrors, as we know them today, were perfected by the Venetians and that they had a corner on the market until Louis XIV came along?
And that during the Renaissance, a fine Venetian mirror cost more than an old master painting and was framed similarly?
According to "The Essense of Style, by Joan DeJean", Louis XIV (the Sun King) wanted his palace at Versailles to outshine all others; he decided to tout his wealth and power through the display of his French artisans' mirror-making talents. Prior to this, mirrors were difficult to make larger than a little more than 2 feet high; hand mirrors were even tremendously expensive!
Louis had "huge expanses of mirrored glass measuring 18 feet high and 6 1/2 feet wide" installed in Versailles in what became known as the Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces) . The panels reflected seventeen windows directly across from them, and the luxurious gardens just outside.
The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles became an immediate tourist attraction and remains one to this day.
After mirrors were able to be produced more efficiently and size was (almost) not a problem, the possibilities became endless.
In interior design, mirrors are a wonderful way to open up a space and add a little sparkle to a dim area....
....including kitchen backsplashes .....
......and furniture for every room in the house.
French mirror makers have given us so many beautiful choices!