top of page
  • Writer's pictureMandy Pickett

Let me Count the Ways to Reflect on a Sonnet- Mirror Mirror Where are you From?

Updated: Jun 4

Bishops Depository Advert Pimlico London

Antique Mirrors have been something of an Obsession for Clarke Pickett over the years. We have travelled the lengths of the UK to Source, Buy and Collect these amazing timelines of history that can really make a space very very special. We have had some lovely pieces over the years and in particular two of the finest mirrors we have ever had through our dealing hands, surprisingly we had at the same time.

The First mirror arrived timously on a rather damp Friday Afternoon in Perthshire, Scotland. A Local Dealer of some repute, arrived with his New Acquisitions asked me if i was interested in something in need of some work. He had just picked it up at a local minor Auction House, he mentioned it was broken a little and as he knew we were restorers he offered it up.

Sprightly, I walked to the boot of his car where she lay in the back a little disheveled. A fantastic looker in her day, unfortunately the mirror still in the damp confines of the BMW boot with the 4 sections that surrounded the mirror plate sitting on top of it. The poor Girl had clearly came off the wall once upon a time and was damaged and in pieces, but not too much that it was a lost soul. An Italian Florentine Mirror, Gilt Wood , with Great looking backboards.. So I had a quick look and saw the label on the reverso attached to the Wooden back, "Countess of Airlie". ...hmmmmm I immediately thought I will take it and paid what he needed for it and brought it into the back of my car to take home to our workshops.

Back at HQ with our Teachers and Mentors, we pulled the Mirror out and checked all its finer details, The Broken Pelmets all Crowns and the quality of the Gildtwood was exceptional. The Back baords were something pretty special also and you could make out the Red Velvet that lay between the original Mirror Plate and the boards, all looking like this was something rather special. Faded on the parts that had been exposed to the sunlight, and vibrant Red on bits hidden by light for 150 plus years.

The Depository Label on the reverse, Bishops and Sons, located in Pimlico, London, 1850´s and the Name Beutfully hand written with the words Countess of Airlie. Wow this was an amazing FInd indeed. As the Masters began sorting out the broken pediment to fix back to its former glory, which would take the best part of the week, I set about the research on the Provenance of this amazing piece. Mabell Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie and her amazing story and just how she firstly came to have this Florentine Italian Mirror and subsequently how we managed to end up with this reflection of granduer that really does tug on the wistful fancy of life of these Royal Aristocrats of the mid 1850´s.

The Ogilvy´s the highest end of Scottish Royality, did in fact come across this Looking Glass whilst living in Italy, at the Palacio Guidi , Florence in 1840´s living above the equally esteemed English Poet Elzabeth Barret Browning, who fondly describes this large noisey

The Girl herself

Scottish Family, which I liken to our own, without the Aristocratic links, with a wry sense of imagination. The two ladies corresponded with each other for a long time after the Ogilvy´s moved to Paris, then to London and subsequently back to Scotland, where not too far from.where I had Purchased the mirror, to the Family Estates, which included Airlie Castle, Cortachy Castle and of Course links to Glamis Castle . We are always only the keepers of these exquisite piece´s of History, for me this is what makes the Antique´s trade, The Stories.

Airlie Castle

This is what the Countess had to say about EBB.

"Her perfect sincerity and purity of motive, her freedom from jealousy or pettiness of feeling, her warm heart and sweet temper, would have made a stupid woman lovable, and made her, with her intellectual power, adorable then when she lived in the flesh, and now when she lives in the memory.”

Palacio Casa Guido Florence Italy

Well after we displayed the mirror back in London it was only a matter of time before the mirror was purchased again by an amazing Historian. He had recently Purchased a fantastic Scottish Baronial Mansion Tyningham in East Lothian. The ex director of the Scottish Musuems, another satisfied customer, Another Good Job all round By Clarke and Pickett. onto the next one.

Next Mirror .....Next Blog.

Mirrors New Home Tyninghame East Lothian

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page