So back in May I went to a flea market with a good friend of mine and her boyfriend. I ended up finding a few clock magazines, and this gorgeous antique mirror. She paid for half (combined b-day and Christmas gift from last year) so this was a bargain find.
This is an American Gilt Wood Federal Mirror, and it dates from between around 1830-1850. This is a very small version, and it's about 19" high by 11" wide at the top. Standard mirrors like this are usually about 30" high, but there are a huge variety of sizes up to about 5 or 6 feet tall.
This one still has the wonderful original (very wavy) mirror, and the original "verre églomisé" (reverse-painted) glass. The gilt decorations and gesso are not in perfect shape (lots of chips) but that's not really a big issue. I chose to do a very light restoration on the gold by simply touching up most of the exposed white. A fair number of these mirrors have been stripped down, repaired, re-gessoed and re-gilt. That's not the look I was aiming for.
Before (as purchased):
There were two thin side areas without any gold paint (just mustard coloured paint). I repainted these since both sides were in bad shape.
After minimal restoration. All I did was touch-up the spots where white plaster was showing, and I repainted the mustard side strips which were very damaged. I have this mirror hanging above my nightstand in the master bedroom.
The reflection in the mirror is fairly useless unless you're right in front of it, but the silvering is remarkably bright and clean. It also makes stunning splashes of light on the walls when light is hitting it.