Louis XIV was born in 1638 and was crowned king of France at the age of 5. He reigned for 72 years - a "golden century" during which France was the most powerful political and cultural force in Europe. Louis XIV enjoyed absolute sovereignty, which he believed was a God-given right. He moved his court from Paris to the Chateau de Versailles in 1682 - a strategy that allowed him to keep watch over his nobles and prevent them from rebelling against him. Versailles, with its Hall of Mirrors, was a fitting home for a monarch who chose the sun as his symbol. The sun god was Apollo, the patron of music, poetry and truth. Louis XIV, the Sun King, surrounded himself with the best artists and playwrights of the time. According to the Chateau de Versailles website, he played the guitar, rode horses, enjoyed billiards and was an excellent dancer who performed in ballets. The mirror was very popular in Baroque design (approximately 1600 to 1750), and the sunburst mirror became a symbol of Louis XIV's illustrious reign. Centuries have passed, yet the sunburst continues to add beauty to interiors of all types. 

Gold leaf sunburst frame from France c. 1780.
The sixteen rays appear to be symmetrical, but closer inspection reveals that each one has a different thickness.

"A raw umber glaze over stenciled walls adds some age. Moorish tiles from Country Floors. Benches covered in Lyon Stripe from Travers. Sunburst clock from John Rosselli."
Interior design by Cathy Kincaid.
Photography by Reed Davis.

"The living room walls are painted Benjamin Moore's Bridal Pink, a soft color balanced by the deep browns and earth textures in the room. Hanna chairs in leather flank an antiqued brass drum table, both from Oly. The girandoles are 19th-century French. Natura carpet in Seagrass is from Stark."
Interior design by Stephen Shubel of Stephen Shubel Design.
Photography by Jeremy Samuelson.

"A circular carpet from Galerie Diurne, designed by [Jean-Louis] Deniot, simplifies the five-sided living room. A 20th-century gilt-wood sunburst clock echoes the carpet's pattern."
Pied-a-terre in Paris.
Interior design by Jean-Louis Deniot.
Photography by Marina Faust.
Text by Penelope Rowlands.
"A la Mode"
Architectural Digest (January 2011).

Midcentury mirror in Austin, Texas home.
Interior design by Jan Showers.
Renovation architecture by Steinbomer and Associates Architects.
Photography by Stephen Karlisch.
Text by Degen Pener.
"Clearly Luminous" produced by Mary Jane Ryburn.
Veranda (March 2011).

"A graphic mirror over a sculptural tub illustrates the power of simplicity.
Tub with burnished metallic finish, faucets; by Waterworks. Sunburst mirror, Baker, repainted by Rising Tide. Limestone floor, Architectural Ceramics."
Marwood Estate (outside of Washington, D.C.)
Renovation and interior design by Mary Douglas Drysdale.
Restoration architecture by Anthony S. Barnes.
Photography by Peter Vitale and Max Kim-Bee.
Written by Susan Stiles Dowell.
"Capital Idea" produced by Charles L. Ross.
Veranda (May - June 2011).

"A 20th-century gilt-wood clock hangs above a custom-made marble mantle; the antique screen is covered in a de Gournay wallpaper; the 19th-century chair is upholstered in a cotton by Luigi Bevilacqua, and the rug is from Galerie Shabab."
Living room of Jane and Michael DeFlorio's Manhattan townhouse.
Interior design by Celerie Kemble.
Photography by William Waldron.
Text by Ingrid Abramovitch.
"Tailored to Perfection" produced by Anita Sarsidi.
Elle Decor (July - August 2011).

"Sofas by Janus et Cie and 1950s French woven chairs from the Nicholson Gallery beckon from the terrace; the sunburst mirror is vintage."
Atlanta, Georgia home of interior decorator Suzanne Kasler.
Interior design by Suzanne Kasler.
Architectural renovation by William T. Baker and Associates.
Photography by Pieter Estersohn.
Text by Jen Renzi.
"A Perfect Union" produced by Howard Christian.
Architectural Digest (April 2012).

" The first thing designer Meg Braff bought for this Palm Beach living room was the fabric on the club chairs, Cowtan and Tout's Tortola in Multi Fern, and then she pulled her palette from it."
Interior design by Meg Braff.
Photography by Thibault Jeanson.
House Beautiful (April 2011).

" 'I found this amazing embroidered satin from Bergamo Fabrics and used it on the bed, to create a little jewel box,' [Windsor] Smith says. 'And then I added that whimsical Italian mirror. It's like a star hanging over us.' Slim chaise covered in Kravet's Obsession, and Zebra Bed from Windsor Smith Home."
Windsor Smith's Los Angeles, California home.
Interior design by Windsor Smith.
Photography by Victoria Pearson.

"Designed by Kim Fiscus, this tiny dining room, once an office area, is practical  . . . with a touch of drama. The 18th-century gilt starburst is six feet in diameter and probably from an Italian church."
San Francisco, California house of Bruce and Kim Fiscus, an antiques dealer specializing in 18th- and 19th-century European pieces.
Interior design by Kim Fiscus.
Photography by Reed Davis.
Interview by Mimi Reed.
House Beautiful (June 2008).

"The walls of the dining room were meticulously hand-painted to look like ikat fabric. Chairs in Schumacher fabric with linen backs, dining table, sunburst mirror and chandelier, all custom."
Dallas, Texas home of designer Kelli Ford and her family.
Architecture by Larry E. Boerder.
Photography by Max Kim-Bee.
Text by Jeff Turrentine.
"Haute Hues" produced by Carolyn Englefield.
Veranda (January - February 2012).


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