10175 A George III Neoclassical painted and gilded overmantel mirror by Thomas Fentham, the architectural cornice studded with gilded balls, above a frieze of dancing putti with athenienne end-blocks painted to simulate cameos, the original plates supported by gilt cluster columns with Corinthian capitals. Label for Thomas Fentham, 136 Strand, London. With later overgilding.
Private Scottish collection.
Height: 57 ins (145 cms)
Width: 52 ins (132 cms)
Width max: 55 ins (140 cms) £9,000
Thomas Fentham, flourished 1775-1825, was a notable carver, gilder and glass grinder working in London. Fortunately for historians, he frequently labelled his work and this reveals a distinctive neoclassical style, particularly with the use of fine cluster columns. Well known for finely detailed mirrors, the firm also specialised in frames for pictures and prints, also usually in neoclassical style.
The use of painted panels is unusual, in this case presumably to fit with room decoration. They are painted in relief cameo style on a veined ‘marble’ background at a moment when the study and popularity of Antique engraved gems and cameos was at a highpoint. Numerous Roman collections of engraved gems had been published and these objects were keenly sought after by British collectors as part of their Grand Tour of Italy. Modern versions of these intaglios were available in gesso, sulphide wax and glass for those unable to make the trip across Europe, further fuelling the interest in the genre.