Monday, June 22, 2015

The Starburst Mirror - A Classic Iconic Mirror

Credit Amanda Carol Interiors
 There has been a lot of chatter as to whether the starburst mirror is a trend or a classic.  What do you think?  I think anything that has withstood the test of time like this iconic mirror is a classic.  This mirror has been around for centuries. Therefore, I don't consider it a trend.
There are many theories on the origin of the starburst mirror.  Many historians think it's popularity began when the starburst frames which were repurposed by collectors and antique dealers from religious icons that were in abundance after the French Revolution.  Some historians attribute the mirrors to Louis XIV, nicknamed "The Sun King."  Many claim that Louis chose the sun emblem as his personal icon because he loved the sun and its powerful rays but a recent trip to Chateau Vaux Le Vicomte challenges that theory.  When I was in Paris a couple of years ago, I visited Vaux Le Vicomte.  Our tour guide shared the history of the famous chateau.    Nicolas Fouquet, who built Vaux Le Vicomte, was Louis XIV's Superintendent of Finances.  I won't go into great detail here but let's just say Louis was threatened by Fouquet's opulent home and furnishings.  He feared that Fouquet was far more impressive than the King himself.  He was offended that Fouquet stood many feet above him on the steps of Vaux Le Vicomte when he greeted Louis XIV when he entered the grounds.  Noone was to stand above the King! He had Fouquet thrown in prison and stripped the chateaux of most of its furnishings.  He went to far as to steal Nicolas's personal emblems that were the sun and the squirrel.  I plan to write more about Vaux Le Vicomte in a later post.  There is a painting that shows the starburst mirror was used far before Vaux Le Vicomte or Louis XIV.  Shown below in a painting by famous artist Jan Van Eyck from the 15th century, which reveals a starburst mirror in the background of the  "Arnofini's Wedding" painted in 1493.  I remember studying this painting in Art History class when I was in design school.   This painting and many others that with symbolic meaning woven into the composition taught me to study great works of art for more than just the overall beauty. 
See the starburst convex mirror in the background?  If you look 
closely it reveals the artist himself in the reflection.

I'm not sure of the origin of the starburst mirror, but I can confidently say it isn't a trend that is going away.  Let's look at some of my favorite uses for a starburst mirror.
Credit Amanda Carol Interiors
 A large starburst commands attention as a great focal point on a wall over a mantle as shown here is a room designed by my friend Amanda Carol of Amanda Carol Interiors.  
Credit Traci Zeller Designs
My studio partner, Traci Zeller successfully used a trio of starburst mirrors in the guest room she designed in collaboration with Laura Ashley for Domino Magazine in her home.

Credit Rachel Cannon Lewis
My friend and Baton Rouge Designer, Rachel Cannon Lewis chose a painted version for this family room project mounted over a painting as an accent rather than the focal point.  The starburst mirror adds the perfect element to soften vertical lines of the room and pull the white trim and moldings together visually.

Credit via Rachel Cannon Lewis
Another great idea is to use a smaller starburst to capture light on a side table
 also by Rachel Cannon Lewis. 

Credit via Rachel Cannon Lewis

Rachel again uses the starburst mirror in a foyer grouping to create art interest and light.

Do you have a starburst?  I would love to see yours.  Feel free to post a picture on my Facebook page here and tell me the origin of your starburst mirror!
I have two starburst mirrors in my home.  I have a Worlds Away Starburst mirror over my bed and hand carved Julian Chichester's Hobbs Mirror in my dining room over a buffet.

Here are some of my favorite starburst mirrors.

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  1. I do have one in my bedroom, but even though they're timeless, like the Federal eagle mirror, they certainly have been trendy. Let's see who still has them years from now! xo Nancy

    1. I think the key to keeping it timeless is to buy the really good hand carved ones Nancy like the original ones were, don't you?

  2. Lisa, there was a time where I was tired of seeing the starburst mirrors everywhere and they all seemed the same.
    Now I really want one that is unique and interesting...a classic for sure!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Love them and I agree with you, they are a classic! xo maria

  4. Thanks Maria! Can I convince you to pack me in your suitcase, now?

  5. We just love them, Lisa and your beautiful images remind us why…have one if the Beaufort house and it's a favorite!

    1. Oh Kristy, you have everything chic! you are Design Chic afterall! I'm going to have to come to Beaufort one of these days!


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