It would seem that in the south of France the sun always shines and the temperature in this region does not drop below zero. In fact, winter is more like autumn here, but today’s day was extremely cold.
In spite of this, cold didn’t discouraged antiques’ lovers! As in every first weekend of the month, in Les Aléess Francois Verdier an antiques market was organized.
Although it was not as big as usual, it was possible to admire of some of the stands and what their sellers offered.
Particular attention I focused on mirrors, I couldn’t resist, of their charm and they inspired me to write something about their history.
Antique, crystal in gold frames, formerly adorning the palaces, today wonderfully connecting with modern interiors. They add them some charm and magical character and optically enlarge every space.
From antiquity to the Middle Ages, the mirrors were simple metal disks with a slightly convex, polished surface, which, unfortunately, quickly lost its gloss. Glass mirrors appeared in Europe in the 13th century. They consisted of a glass surface on which a lead or polished silver plate was overlapped. In the 15th century, the production of tin mirrors known as the famous mercury mirrors began in Venice. The glass plate was coated with mercury and tin alloy and it was called tinning method. The surface was covered with tin and then polished, and mercury was placed on it. Later, for one day, the whole was pressed with an iron mass, and mercury residues were removed by tilting the glass plate. That is how the shiny surface was created. The mercury dissolves the tin forming a mixture adhering to the glass. It took even a month to get a perfectly even surface.
The Venetian mirrors were clean, transparent and had an amazing reflection strength. Unfortunately, this method of creating mirrors by using mercury had a very harmful effect on the health of employees.
The changes took place when the Venetians invented a modern technique enabling the production of more transparent and durable glass. The new patent turned out to be so perfect and unique that the glaziers who developed it were imprisoned on the island Murano, and they were threatened with death for betraying this secret. Despite this ban issued by the Venetian government, the news reached Germany, where competitive plants operated until the end of the 16th century
During the reign of Louis XIV in France, various glass techniques were used. The first attempts to create unique mirrors in the late 1630s proved to be unsuccessful. During the reign of Louis XIV, the Venetian mirrors enjoyed enormous popularity decorating the interiors of the palaces of the French aristocracy.