It may have once graced a room in one of Marie Antoinette’s (1755-93) palaces and passed through the hands of Emperor Napoleon III’s wife Eugenie (1826-1920). But until recently this looking glass was in a family bathroom in a house near Hull.
The mirror plate, now in a late 19th century walnut frame, was purchased in the 1950s by a friend of the vendor’s grandmother who inherited it in the 1980s. The 20 x 16in (50 x 40cm) mirror was offered at East Bristol Auctions (18% buyer’s premium) on November 13 with an estimate of £5000-8000.
Aiden Khan at East Bristol said: “With something like this, provenance is everything and this has a wonderful paper trail – it actually appears in a catalogue from an auction held in the 1889 at Camden House in Kent, for the estate of the late Napoleon III.” He said it is likely to have formed part of a larger mirrored display in one of Antoinette’s palaces.
It sold to a UK-based collector for a hammer price of £8500.
Two days later, in Fontainebleau, France, a single silk and kid leather slipper once belonging to the doomed queen sold at auction at auction house Osenat (23% buyer’s premium).
Inscribed in pen on the heel Soulier de Marie-Antoinette donné à M.de Voisey, it came by descent from Charles-Gilbert de Lachapelle (1755-94), head of the offices of the civil list whose wife Marie Emilie née Leschevin was a close friend of Marie Antoinette’s first chambermaid.
Estimated at €8000-10,000, it was hammered down at €35,000 (£31,500).