Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunny Side Up

A lot of people feel that the sunburst mirror has been done to death, and I don't necessarily disagree. Yes, they're a tad ubiquitous right now, and perhaps if I had one I might give it a rest in storage for a while. But just because the sunburst mirror is on a few "out" lists right now, it doesn't mean that the motif itself is stale. That radiating design is so pleasing to the eye that it would be a shame to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I mean, you wouldn't deem the mantel clock at top to be passe just because the pendulum is graced with that sunburst face. And let's face it, Elsie de Wolfe's Schiaparelli cape, below, is drop-dead chic, don't you think?

This sunburst headboard is a bit wild and just the slightest bit tacky (at least in today's world), but you can't deny that it was awfully, um,
theatrical. (A display room at B. Altman & Co. designed by Robert Reid MacGuire in 1928.)

How about sunburst wall appliques? These were auctioned off at Christie's a few weeks ago, as was this:

A French ormolu and glass plaffonier-form chandelier. Now this is drama for your ceiling.

But nobody, and I mean nobody, did sunbursts like Tony Duquette. I guess you could call him the Sun King!

Sunbursts on the Duquette Pavilion, San Francisco

and on torcheres at Dawnridge.

(Top photo by Jennifer Boles; Schiaparelli cape image from Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli; B. Altman bedroom from Selling Good Design: Promoting the Modern Interior; Duquette photos from Tony Duquette)


  1. Yes, a little tired of the sunburst mirrors (except if they are very very old with original gilding and mirror.
    But that cape!! and Tony Duquette will never become tiring. Once again, thanks!

  2. I still have my aged silver sunburst mirror :) Really like how you made the Duquette connection.

  3. I know sunbursts may be tired...but I LOVE them! I have them all over my home along with my leopard print fabric! I can't help it!
    Thanks for a great article!

  4. Love love love that post!

    Tony Duquette was a friend of mine....and I will never ever tire of sunbursts because of that!

    Also, Hutton Wilkinson has the most beautiful sunburst earrings on HSN that you have ever seen in
    your life!!! For such a bargain; you will faint!