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Mirror

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Mirror

Maker: Meriden Silverplate Company (active Meriden, Connecticut, 1869 - 1898)

Date: c. 1885
Medium: Silver and gold plate over Britannia, glass
Dimensions:
Overall: 12 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 1 1/2in. (31.8 x 24.1 x 3.8cm)
Inscribed: Impressed mark on back: "Meriden Silverplate Co., Quadrupleplate". Paper label.*see notes*
Credit Line: Museum Purchase, by exchange in part, with funds from Raleigh Castor and Mr. David B. Hazelden
Object number: 2002.25
Label Text
This mirror was not made by a firm that produced art brass, but Meriden Britannia (of which Meriden Silver Plate was a division) did make parallel examples of silver-plated tables. The mirror is an excellent example of how Japanese images found on American metals could be significantly incongruous with their supposed design inspiration. In the early 1880s for eleven dollars and fifty cents, one could purchase this fan-shaped hanging mirror with its bamboo-form handle and a cast Asian figure. Beyond the use of the fan as a motif, the decoration of the mirror is not associated with genuine Japanese imagery. Created to satisfy American consumer demand for Japanese-styled objects, it shows an indiscriminate enthusiasm for Japonisme.


Text Entries

This mirror was not made by a firm that produced art brass, although the company did create parallel examples of silverplated tables. The mirror, however, is an excellent example of how Japanese images found on American metals could be significantly incongruous with their supposed design inspiration. In the early 1880s for eleven dollars and fifty cents, for example, one could purchase this fan-shaped hanging mirror with a bamboo-form handle from Meriden Britannia Manufacturing.107 The body of the mirror is silver plate accented by a gilt frame around beveled glass. A cast and silver-plated figure of an Asian man in traditional dress and holding a gilt fan rests at the mirror base. Beyond the use of the fan as a motif, the decoration of the mirror is not associated with genuine Japanese imagery. Created to satisfy American consumer demand for Japanese-styled objects, it shows and indiscriminate enthusiasm for Japonisme.

 

107. The holdings of the Meriden Historical Society contain folio-sized scrapbooks of images cut from Meriden Britannia catalogues. These volumes, assembled by Meriden Britannia and International Silver staff, are organized by form and then chronologically. The date an object was first produced is handwritten next to the photograph. This mirror is featured, but no date is cited. Meriden Silverplate Co. was part of Meriden Britannia Co.