Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, commissioned this exceptionally fine toilet mirror for his mistress, Mary Nesbitt, in 1777.

The mirror was ordered from Frederick Kandler, one of the most celebrated silversmiths working in London at that time.

This gift was a love token of great splendour. Silver-framed toilet mirrors were highly exclusive, and the complex decoration added to the cost. The frame features a bow and arrows, an allusion to Cupid, as well as the Hervey coat of arms at the base. Such mirrors were an important part of the levée, the morning preparation ritual typical of fashionable women in the 18th century.

The Hervey family were great patrons, leaving a legacy which includes Ickworth, the great neoclassical palace built by the 4th Earl near Bury St Edmunds. Now in the care of the National Trust, the house contains an outstanding silver collection of almost 1,000 pieces, among them nearly 200 items produced by Kandler’s workshop.


Commissioned by Augustus John, 3rd Earl of Bristol (1724–1779), perhaps using silver from his brother’s Ambassadorial service, almost certainly a gift to his mistress, Mary Nesbitt (1742

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