Derived from Europe alongside the invention of glass-blowing during the Medieval-Renaissance period, the convex mirror was originally formed from a small glass bulb coated with reflective tin or lead. Highly ornamental editions of convex mirror became popular in the 18th century, often embellishing the walls of wealthy Europeans. In particular, the French and English are renowned for the design and mastery of Empire and Regency convex mirrors respectively, which were delicate, decorative and decadent.
Practically speaking, convex mirrors were useful for butlers in affluent private households, in order to keep a discrete eye on the dining table without looking directly at the principal and guests. Moreover, from the 15th century onwards, bankers and goldsmiths frequently used convex mirrors to monitor the room in a singular glance, whilst surveilling potentially underhand customers. Stylistically, the curved reflective surface displays a virtual representation of reality whilst refracting beams of light around the interiors.