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Each consisting of a rectangular plate set within a stiff leaf, entwined vine and fleur de lis carved surround, these exceptional mirrors were made in Italy in the mid-18th century from giltwood and embellished with polychromatic decoration.
The cresting on top is centred by an armorial shield for the Thorold baronets, which is surmounted by a plummed helmet, and flanked by trellis with flower-filled vase finials. These are in turn set above elaborate scrolling vines and floral garlands, and labelled on the reverse 'Proveniente della famiglia Dona dalle Rose.' The original polychrome decoration primarily in white and blue survives in traces.
The Thorold baronets are in all likelihood for Sir Nathaniel Thorold, 1st Baronet (d.1764), who made his fortune in Naples and settled on Capri, where he was held in high regard by the people of the island. The Palazzo Dona dalle Rose is in Venice, and is a superb example of Renaissance Venetian architecture, particularly with the baroque ornamentation on the piano nobile. These pieces come from the celebrated collection of that remarkable location.
The heraldic shields to the cresting of the present mirrors belong to the Thorold baronets, and almost certainly correspond to Sir Nathaniel Thorold (d. 1764). Thorold inherited the estate of Harmeston, Lincolnshire from Sir Samuel Thorold in 1738, and was created Baronet in 1740. He is said to have travelled to Italy in 1741 to escape his debts, and quickly amassed a fortune in Genoa before becoming a merchant in Naples. By 1749 he had built a villa on the island of Capri, where an 18th century correspondent noted he was 'much respected by the whole island'; he died at Capri in 1764 (J. Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800, New Haven and London, 1997, p. 938).
The Palazzo Dona dalle Rose, Venice, is a magnificent example of Renaissance Venetian architecture with well-preserved baroque ornamentation on the piano nobile, which was commissioned c. 1600 by Doge Leonardo Dona (d. 1612) and completed after his death. It is one of the last Venetian palaces still owned by descendants of the founder's family. Part of the celebrated collection of the Palazzo was recorded in 1934 in a catalogue by G. Lorenzetti entitled 'La Collezione Dei Conti Dona dalle Rose a Venezia'.
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