After the turn of the 1900s, Anders Zorn emerged as an ardent advocate of home culture where the goal was to make Dalian local culture a national concern.
Zorn's craze for the hometown could take direct expression in the form of real estate acquisitions as well as the extensions of the existing property portfolio. The studio in Mora, originally an ancient firehouse from Fåsås, was soon to be supplemented by another timber building, the so-called 'Risaloftet' which was erected adjacent to the studio next to the main entrance of Zorngården.
In addition, spurred on by his building antiquarian projects with its associated influence on his artistry, Zorn began to long for his own fishing cabin. Zorn had already found a suitable place: "opposite Gobsberget and Gopelån estuary where the mountain reflected all his majesty in the water". Zorn procured a complete retained cottage from 1766, "one of the only ones left with a back roof in Mora", bought the plot in question and then had the cottage built with the help of his uncles Lars and Per.
The place could not have been better chosen according to Zorn: “sky-high pine and spruce and at its foot a lovely spring stream, so on the other side of the cottage the running valley river and beyond this the stately Gopsberg. It was ideal and I started the following summer already to stay there as soon as the cottage was completed”.
Zorn often returned to: "Gopsmorsstugan, this so peaceful and so important for my art and health so important among the sky-high fir trees and with the Dalälven meandering outside its way to the sea". Often he also received visits, the academy member Karlfeldt spent the night in the cabin and Bruno Liljefors traveled there to have his portrait painted in the winter white forest.
Usually, Zorn worked at Gopsmor for at least two periods a year. Winter time usually in January and summertime just before midsummer. Above all, these were models depicted in the cabin's fireplace or in the process of any outdoor activity.
It was in this peculiar environment that "Gammal spegel" was performed in 1915.
When the painting was included in the prestigious inauguration of Liljevalch's Konsthall in Stockholm the following year, it aroused great admiration. Johnny Roosval, for example, devoted a fine analysis in his review. Gerda Boëthius's description of the artwork also clarifies its significance:
"One of the foremost works in Gopsmor these years is 'Gammal spegel'. As usual, the scene is clearly geometric and the table gives the diagonal, while the models repeat a shape and line chord. The light comes from the window to the left, but also from the gable and half the girl's body is in shadow, the air is warm from the fireplace's invisible fire, the color is deep and musty, the red hair bands radiate like coral and the gold in the tiny mirror's sparse frame sparkles. It can be questioned if Zorn ever reached higher when it came to the painting of a naked woman's body, and the play of light is as masterfully portrayed as in 'Brödbakning', 'Margit', 'Röd sand' and other of his greatest works."
The painting was previously part of Axel Jacobsen's famous collection, where he was accompanied by significant works by artists such as Carl Larsson, Bruno Liljefors, Prince Eugen and Nils Kreuger. Most notable for the collection, however, was its impressive portfolio of works by Anders Zorn.
Among the treasures which could be found in the collection includes among many "Brödbakning" (oil on canvas, 95 x 140 cm, 1889, private ownership), "Utsikt från Skeppsholmskajen" (oil on canvas, 69 x 100 cm, 1890, private collection), "Midnight" (oil on canvas, 69 x 103 cm, 1891, Zornmuseet, Mora) and "Spetsknypplerskor i Venedig" (oil on canvas, 92 x 65 cm, 1894, private collection).
In "Swedish Home in Words and Pictures" in 1930 Jacobsen's home is presented under the heading 'An artist's home in Djursholm'. The article's author, Nils Lago-Lengquist, provides the following background to Jacobsen's outstanding collection:
"From the father, Director Jacobsen inherited his strong interest in paintings. He tells himself how he tasted blood and became a collector of art. At some point he came to see Zorn's 'Sjöbloms eka', became enchanted, and that oak became the craft which brought him into the arms of art. Once he had acquired the precious work, the desire for more Zorn paintings arose, and as he subsequently came to form lasting friendships with the great artist, he must relentlessly surrender to his overcoming desire to own the works of his pen and brush. Piece after piece, he realized this his longing, and the Zorn collection that now adorns the stately home, should be without many counterparts."