A cheval mirror is a full-length mirror encased in a decorative frame that is attached to a large supporting base by a set of swivel screws. The supporting base consists of two vertical bars held up by a pair of feet. This base is also called a horse, or “cheval” in French, and it allows the mirror to stand freely, while the swivel screws allow the angle of the mirror to be adjusted. A cheval mirror is typically made of woods like oak, mahogany or walnut.
The cheval mirror, also called cheval glass, was first made in the 1700s. Originally known as a dressing mirror, it was created for use in bedrooms and dressing rooms, as the adjustable angle allowed one to see one’s dress from head to toe. By the end of the eighteenth century, the cheval mirror was very popular, and all of the era’s leading furniture designers had developed their own cheval mirror design, featuring different decorative frames and carved wood embellishments. But, as furniture design evolved, mirrors were mounted on armoires and wardrobes in an effort to save space, and the cheval mirror lost some of its popularity.