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Superb 19th Century Venetian Mirror, signed by the Carver, Valentino Besarel Venezia

Superb 19th Century Venetian Mirror, signed by the Carver, Valentino Besarel Venezia



circa 1880

The mirror is crisply carved in Arolla pine. It was given by the 1st Earl of Plymouth to his Head Gardener at St Fagan's Castle as a wedding gift. Valentino Panciera Besarel (1829 - 1902) Valentino Besarel was born in Zoldo, near Bellune which is the hometown of the 17th Century master carver Andrea Brustolon (1662 - 1732). The Besarel family had been woodcarvers for generations having achieved some fame with carvings in local churches. After training with his father, Valentino studied under Belluno Antonio Federici and was then discovered by the noted architect Guiseppe Segusini through whom he was able to attend the Academy of Venice from 1853 to 1855 and with whom he worked as a carver. He established himself in Venice in the 1860’s where he opened an atelier and shop. He soon distinguished himself as a creator of exquisite sculpture and furniture for wealthy private patrons and the royal courts, receiving commissions from clients such as Edward, Prince of Wales, The British Consul, Layard and the King of Italy. The strong sculptural theme of his furniture was directly influenced by the work of Andrea Brustolon to whose work he had been frequently exposed in Venice. Valentino exhibited at the 1878 Paris Universelle Exposition where he won a Gold Medal and the churches of Este and Conselve, near Padua contain many groups of saints carved by this artist.

Robert Windsor-Clive 1st Earl of Plymouth (1857 to 1923) Robert Windsor-Clive was the grandson of the Hon. Robert Clive and Harriet, 13th Baroness Windsor, daughter of Other Windsor, 5th Earl of Plymouth. In 1869 he succeeded his grandmother in the barony of Windsor. As Lord Windsor he served under Lord Salisbury as Paymaster General between 1890 and 1892 and was sworn of the Privy Council in 1891. Under Arthur Balfour he was First Commissioner of Works between 1902 and 1905, during which period he was responsible for the transformation of The Mall into a processional carriageway and passed the plans for the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace. In 1905 the Earldom of Plymouth held by his great-grandfather (which had become extinct in 1843) was revived when he was created Viscount Windsor, of St Fagans in the County of Glamorgan, and Earl of Plymouth, in the County of Devon. In 1903, Lord Windsor gave the mirror to Hugh Allan Pettigrew as a wedding gift for his marriage to Alice Southwell Cardell. Hugh Pettigrew was the son of Andrew Pettigrew who had been Head Gardener at Dumfries House, Ayreshire, for the 3rd Marquess of Bute and was then moved to develop the grounds of Cardiff Castle as a private ornamental pleasure ground. Hugh started his gardening career working for his father before training at Kew Gardens. In 1900 he became Head Gardener to Lord Windsor at St Fagan’s Castle where he worked until he retired in 1935.


Height 105.00cm (41.34 inches)

Width 85.00cm (33.46 inches)

Depth 18.00cm (7.09 inches)

Stock No: F691


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