These spectacular giltwood mirrors and the marble-top giltwood console table were made in 1753 by a master virtuoso craftsman Thomas Johnson (1723-1799), among the finest designer-carvers of mid-18th Britain and Ireland.
Mirrors were more expensive than paintings before electricity as they caught and magnified the candlelight. They and the table were commissioned for a Dublin townhouse.
Dragons feature on all three mirrors, the pair and the single, a common motif in the 18th century when everything Chinese was in fashion. Because it was not possible to make large sheets of glass in the 18th century, the single mirror consists of two mirrored plates, the joint being concealed by a garland swag.
Thomas Johnson along with Matthias Lock are regarded as the greatest designer/carvers of the period in the British Isles. Johnson worked in William Partridge’s Dublin workshop during the period 1753-55 which coincides with the marriage of Sir Thomas Taylor in 1754 (Viscount Headfort 1762) when he and his wife commissioned new furnishings in the fashionable Rococo style for their Dublin townhouse (Bective House, Mary Street) including these mirrors and table.
Johnson was the Secretary of the anti-French League in England and the cover of his pattern books of Rococo ornament published between 1755 and 1762 extolled the virtues of English craftsmanship over French at the time.