Mantel Mania



Victorian furniture left us with the unique and lovely heritage of the ornate mantel. They were usually mirrored and ensconced within a lovely carved frame with various sizes of shelves positioned in strategic positions on the lovely old wood. The mirrors were beveled which offers a clue if the mirror on a mantel has been replaced. Nevertheless replaced mirror or not the mantel can serve as a great multi use decorative item in the Victorian home or any home for that matter.
They were used on any number of furniture pieces. The most common mantel was used to bring importance and beauty to the fireplace,usually the focal point of the Victorian living room.The shelves were usually adorned with items that would reflect the warm light of the fire in the fireplace, as light was at a premium in the days before electricity. One of these most beautiful and most collectible items was a pair of crystal or glass candle holders of sorts that stood on each side of the fireplace mantel. They were called fireplace lusters.These were very lovely and ornate and bejeweled with crystal prisms to enhance their reflectability.
Another fireplace item was a porcelain figurine which really appears unfinished if found out of it’s intended environment. They were very lovely on the front side but flat and undecorated on the back side.This allowed them to sit flat against the mantle. Most avidly sought after are the familiar Staffordshire dogs,usually found in pairs.
The mantels were not only used as fireplace decor but also were found on dining room buffets,china closets,book cases,desks,dressers, or any another piece of furniture that would support them.
Today you find them in many different decors as wall decor, hallway mirrors fireplace decor, headboards. There are just a myriad of uses for these products of the Victorian sensibilities…and those ensconced in the antique mall store reflect their desirability, in their price tags.
Well, with the luck of the Irish, I recently found 2 such beauties ,one for $35 and one for $28…you guessed it from Goodwill and one from The Collectibles thrift store both in Canoga Park.
One I believe is very old with circular fan inlays., and the other definitely from the late 1800’s.
They are serving me elegantly over my fireplace and in my guest bedroom.

detail on mantel over fireplace, string inlay and circle fan inlay
fireplace lusters ,which I use on my buffet
This pair of fire place light expanding lusters was found in a thrift store less it’s prisms for $45
Ecclesiastes 2:13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly,as far as light excelleth darkness.
This was  an irresistable shade from a luster because of it’s ornate decoration I have married it with other than it’s own base
Unfortunately I paid $300 for this pair of lusters back East as it was the cheapest I had ever seen and I needed a birthday gift anyway. Believe me, I saw one cracked ruby glass one for $300 at an estate sale. The prices for these beauties range from $900 up and more often $1200 up.
this is my guest bedroom mantel

Various embellishments on the mantel………


Leave a Reply