Dating from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century, this antique French Huguenot mirror carries unique religious and historical significance. The box-front shape creates for a hollow space in the back deep enough to hide a Bible. (See below for further history on the subject). Note the handsome black inlay repeated around the frame and lovely foxing on the mirror. This mirror contains its original mercury glass mirror and loop hook at the top. A lovely and historic piece to add instant beauty and intrigue to any space.
This mirror contains its original mercury glass which sparkles beautifully in the light. The technique of making mercury glass mirrors was retired in the early 1900s. The mercury is fixed behind the glass in a solidified, non-harmful state.
History of hidden Huguenot Bibles:
In 1685, causing great trouble for the Huguenots, Catholic King Louis XIV, ‘The Sun King’, (1638-1715) revoked the Edict of Nantes which had been created by Henry IV of France (1553-1610) in 1598. King Henry’s law had granted a degree of religious freedom and tolerance towards the Huguenots. King Louis’s revocation placed non-Catholic families in a very dangerous situation. King Louis’s legislative changes now meant, either preaching or reading from a Protestant Bible, was banned. Huguenot churches and records were destroyed, their property confiscated. Emigration was forbidden.
Secret methods like baking family Bibles into a loaf of bread, hiding palm-sized bibles in ladies' coifs, or concealing behind a mirror like this one were commonplace methods employed to keep their families safe during home searches at this time.
Source: Excerpts from the Huguenot Museum's website.