May 24th, 2011
The trumeau mirror originated in France during the 18th century and are as popular today as they were then. Trumeau mirrors were intended to hang on the wall between windows providing a decorative element to the wall as well as serve a purpose of bringing in more light. Most antique trumeau mirrors are found painted, as the style of most homes during the 18th century homes were painted in rich faux work with ornate plaster frieze that ornamented the walls.
The trumeau mirror is easy to identify, because it is most often rectangular in design. The size of the mirror was dependant on the size of the mantle or the width of the wall on which the trumeau hung. Trumeau mirrors are designed where the bottom portion is the mirror itself, while the top is generally decorative. The lower portion of a trumeau is always a mirror, and placed behind a candle and served the purpose of bringing in more light in dimly lit homes. Homes were not wired for electricity, so any way of bringing in light which extended the hours of daylight was a necessity. The upper portion of a trumeau contains a relief carved design, a painting, or a second mirror.