Now hereís a post after my heart, my wife and I love those mirrors. Like you, after we filled our house with furniture, we now buy nice accessories to go with it. We also have a thing for brass doorknobs and have replaced all the bakelite ones that the house came with, with victorian ones. OK they donít match on a door to door basis but we love them. I canít afford Russell and Erwin aesthetic doorknobs but we have a nice mix of eastlake etc.
The first brass mirror sconce we bought was the Bradley and Hubbard one in the ďBrass MenagerieĒ book. I had no knowledge of the book and this was about a year and a half ago. It was $200 at an antique flea market. Itís missing its candle cups, but is in great condition with a great patina on it. Candle cups, being removable, are often lost and I donít consider that a serious defect. The sconce looks fine without them and replacement ones are available from almost any manufacturer of chandelier parts. I just stuck candles in it and it looks fine. I agree with Stever that the large hole where the switch is probably did not damage the Sconce, John, but was it drilled to accept the wiring for the sockets? These sconces are plentiful enough to be choosey, but if you want it electrified and the price is right, I say go for it. My Bradley and Hubbard sconce is stamped on the back ďPAT APLD FOR 590Ēhttp://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j285/zekenstein/IMG_1794.jpg
My next sconce is very much like Stevers ďeaselĒ one only it is adapted for a wall hanger. The mirror part is the same and it has the same copper finish. Mine is copper plated iron. On the back is stamped ďPAT APLD and what looks like ď1 3Ē, its a rather hard to decipher stamping so perhaps a number or a letter is missing? I paid about $150.00 for it. Candle cups are also missing on this one.http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j285/zekenstein/IMG_1787.jpg
Here is a detail of the sconce part which differs it from Stevers easel version.http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j285/zekenstein/IMG_1781.jpg
Next one i have a pair of. They are not marked but look very much like the Bradley and Hubbard one. These were $350 for the pair and they are a pair. They have exactly the same patina and age look and Iím convinced they were always a pair and not an assembled set of 2. There are no discernable markings on them.http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j285/zekenstein/IMG_1791.jpg
Lastly I have this lovely one that is brass plating over iron that i bought for my wife as a birthday gift. It is unmarked as far as i can tell. The glass Ďjewelsí in it are not as bright as they look in the picture, that is from the flash. I paid $175.00 for it. It has no seperate candle cups, the candle holders unscrew for cleaning.http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j285/zekenstein/aestheticsconce.jpg
Beyond loving these things, I know very little about them, but Iíll tell you what I think, take it with a grain of salt, but I have looked at and examined many over the years both recently and a long time ago so this is what i think:
There are many many of these, much more in a vaguely Rococo look than Aesthetic, but many nonetheless. They must have been extremely popular before the wide use of electricity and so perfect for a gentleman to straighten his hat or a lady to fix her hair with. They do look splendid with the candles lit and cast a wonderful warm glow about the home.
Many are solid brass and beautiful castings. Some are brass or copper over iron. It seems that the some of the same companies made them either way and the solid brass ones may have been more expensive than plated ones. Perhaps they were made solid at first then available as plated to lower manufacturing costs?
Most, if not all originals had a thin brass plate on the back to cover and protect the mirror. Later ones, probably 20th century versions had the mirror backing held on by a series of tabs with screws, much like a lot of modern picture frames. There are repros on some of them, the 2 dolphins and old bearded man ones have certainly been reproduced at one time and often the castings are very rough, nowhere near as sharp and detailed as the originals. I have never seen a repro Aesthetic one, only the more common rococo ones.
I have seen a lot of the different Aesthetic ones with the same mirror and a different sconce on them. I have counted at least 4 different candle sconces on the B&H one alone. I am convinced that all these sconces are original, just variations that the companies offered, perhaps they mixed and matched.
Candle cups, being removable, are often absent from the sconces.
I am also of the opinion that the Brass menagerie exhibition / catalog has drivin the prices of all Aesthetic brass up considerably, particularly if the piece is actually pictured in the catalog.
On a further note on brass sconces, there are non mirrored ones available. I don't know if these came on dressers, hall racks, mirrors etc, but I have seen them on and off furniture. Here's an Eastlake / Aesthetic one we have of a pair on either side of one of our dressers.http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j285/zekenstein/IMG_1797.jpg