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How to Make a French Trumeau Mirror

Monday French Country Crafts

· Crafts

Have you ever heard of a French Trumeau Mirror? The first time I had heard of this was a year ago and I've actually made my own, except for the mirror that I still need to purchase.

Originating in France during the 18th century, the first original trumeaus were set in wood paneling – or what the French call boiserie (prounounced – bwahzer-EE). This boiserie was an actual wall element, a panel that would be inset over the fireplace mantel. They were typically all wood with ornate decorative elements.

The introduction of glass into these wooden elements began in the early 17th and 18th century. But, glass was expensive so at first it was unusual to have even small mirrors set into the decor. As that resource availability changed, glass was incorporated into the wood. The word trumeau was used to describe the mirror that would be placed in the thin section of wall between two doors or windows. This was done to add a reflective decorative element to the wall and allow additional light to be thrown into the room. This technique was mostly seen in the more affluent homes due to the cost of glass.

Example of a trumeau with the decorative carved element above the mirror.

Example of a trumeau with a painting inserted above the mirror in lieu of a carved element at the top.

As you can see, these gorgeous mirrors were built with so much variation to them, depending on the hierarchy who owned them. This also makes it fairly easy to make your own because your not really restricted.

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