Thakeham Furniture

February 13, 2012

The Man In The Mirror

Here at Thakeham Furniture we sell a lot of convex mirrors. Their compact size and versatility make them a popular antique item. They first came into popularity in the fifteenth century when they were known as an Oeil de Sorcière (French for “sorcerer’s eye”). Over the years they have also been referred to as fish eye mirrors, port hole mirrors and butler’s mirrors. But where did the name ‘butler’s mirror’ come from? Traditionally convex mirrors we placed above the side board in the dining room. When the members of the household threw a dinner party, the increased field of vision allowed the butler to discreetly keep an eye on the dinner guests without having to face them, and therefore swiftly attend to their needs. Another name for them was ‘banker’s eyes’ due to the security advantages of the increased field of vision. A convex mirror famously features in the ‘Arnolfini Portrait’ by Jan van Eyck, see image.

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