Heart of glass
AGEORGIAN mirror that bears the arms of Romantic poet Shelley (left) has returned to its home, Avington Park in Hampshire, which was enlarged in the 17th century in honour of a visit from Charles II and Nell Gwynne and later owned by the poet’s brother Sir John Shelley. The giltwood mirror was created by Thomas Ponsonby (1767–1848), a carver, gilder and glass grinder with Royal Warrant appointments from both George IV and William IV, and later ‘updated’ with the arms of Sir Bysshe Shelley, grandfather of Percy. It was sold in 1951 following the death of Sir John Shelley-rolls and eventually shipped to America, but has now, after 65 years, returned and been re-hung in time for the summer season. ‘The mirror’s history in this house dates to at least the mid 19th century. It arrived back to us just a few weeks ago,’ say owners Sarah and Charlie Bullen. ‘Now hung, it looks as if it’s been here for almost 170 years.’ Avington Park is well known for its mirror collection, which also includes a Grinling Gibbons. The house and grounds are open on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays starting on May 1. Visitors need to book in advance via the website— www.avingtonpark.co.uk — as spaces are limited.