I love Regency mirrors: I like the way they can lighten a room and make it seem larger. I also admire their elegance.
My first mirror used to be above the fireplace in the drawing room in my childhood home – a formal room to which the ladies withdrew after a dinner party, leaving the gentlemen to their port and salacious stories. I was rarely allowed into the drawing-room, so the mirror always held a special glamour for me. I particularly liked the cupid on the top.
This mirror is rather the worse for wear, alas. When it became mine, it had to undergo a two hundred mile journey from my mother’s house in Yorkshire down to London, which didn’t help. When a friend helped me to put it up in my bedroom, bits of moulding kept falling off and had to be stuck back. I’m terrified to dust the cupid because I can see that the plaster is cracked in places. I blow it gently and hope for the best.
My second mirror was in my childhood bedroom, once I’d graduated from the night nursery where I slept with my brothers and had my own room, known as the blue room, when I was about ten. I always admired the Greek key pattern, the black contrasting so nicely with the gold. It is now in my study.
The bottom mirror belonged to an aunt who lived in London throughout the Blitz. She found it in a skip outside a bombed-out house and rescued it. The moulding is slightly battered at the top – you can see the once hidden wires which held the leaves in place - and it has long lost its original gilding. My aunt painted it with gold paint and replaced the broken mirror. It was obviously made for a tall room so it now sits on the mantelpiece in my sitting room which has the highest ceiling.
None of them is particularly valuable; time, and the Luftwaffe, have taken their toll. But I still love them.