A bedroom, a salon and an office were equipped with mirrors made of glass. Of these, two "cristallynen" mirrors were very probably produced in Venice, and of high value. It is not unlikely that the "ronde cristalen" mirror, the only one for which the (round) shape is noted, was a convex mirror, made in Central Europe. Another five mirrors (three of them in the same bedroom) are only specified by their frames, made of ebony or other gilded wood, or of mother of pearl. The mirrors themselves may have been made not of glass but of speculum, a tin-copper-alloy. Most of the mirrors seem to have been hand mirrors. One bedroom featured a table for a presumably somewhat larger mirror, and the mirror in the salon was described as large and might have hung on the wall. Even the kitchen featured a mirror, possibly a slab of polished brass.

In the case of "een spiegel in eben casse oft lysten," the writer of the inventory was not sure whether he should describe the mirror's fitting as a box or frame. This mirror was likely hidden from normal view by a sliding panel of wood, thus turning the frame into a box. This was a fairly common practice for mirrors (as well as for certain paintings) in order to address their ambiguity: a practical tool and a symbol for wealth on the one hand, but a sinful expression of vanity on the other.

Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk, Glasmuseum Hentrich, Düsseldorf


Hartlaub, Gustav Friedrich. Zauber des Spiegels: Geschichte und Bedeutung des Spiegels in der Kunst. Munich: R. Piper, 1951.

Peter Paul Rubens, Venus before a Mirror, 1614-1615, Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna. Image: © Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.