Annotated Bibliography of Frame Publications,
1995 to 2011
By country: Italy

See also COLLECTIONS under Florence, London and Rome
See also COLLECTIONS under London, Victoria and Albert Museum

Adams, Lorraine, ‘Restoration leads to Historical Reunion', The Washington Post, 24 October 2002. On a large Italian Renaissance two-tier polyptych frame made in about 1490 for the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at Cortemaggiore in Emilia-Romagna, acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1884, subsequently purchased by Paul Levi, now restored by William Adair and, after much detective work, generously donated to its original home where it has been reunited with the original paintings by Filippo Mazuoli from the National Museum in Parma.

Amendola, Adriano, ‘Frames for Drawings in Roman Collections: A Case Study’, Getty Research Journal, no.4, 2012, pp.45-56, accessible online at www.jstor.org/stable/41413131. The fashion for framing drawings for display in Roman interiors emerged in the 1630s and became common in the 18th century, as can be identified from inventories in the Getty Research Institute’s Provenance Index database. Five styles found favour in Rome: (1) Cassetta patterns, ebonised or lacquered brown, often with stylised scroll ornament on the frieze; (2) Salvator Rosa, gilded or lacquered, plain moulded borders; (3) Pietro da Cortona frames, profusely decorated with carved ornament, including stylised inner leaves, ribbon-and-stick and egg-and-dart outer mouldings, gilded or lacquered brown (described as wood-coloured in the article summary); (4) Berniniane, from designs by G.B. Bernini, often executed by the wood carver Antonio Chiccari, carved along the outer edges with scrolling leaves and references to heraldic elements; and (5) Maratta frames with ebonised mouldings highlighted with gilt ribbon-and-stick, egg-and-dart outer edges and stylised leaf carving on the inner moulding. This latter style was attributed to Carlo Maratta by Bellori, who identified how the artist ‘had introduced new models of black frames in pearwood, which imitate ebony, with exquisite gilded carving set against a fine dark background, and which today are in use everywhere, lending much grace to painting’.

Out of 2089 drawings on the database, 1190 are listed with frames: Cassetta or Rosa simple profiles (27% gilt and 24% black); brown frames, some carved (37%); wood lacquered white (4%); and indeterminate (8%). Among the many collections three are singled out as of particular interest: those of Abate Giovan Cristoforo Rovelli (inventory, 1647), Cardinal Flavio Chigi (inventory, 1692) and Agostino Chigi (inventory, 1705), and the playwright Giovanni Azzavedi (inventory, 1667).

Baker, Christopher, 'Filippo Lauri's Rape of Europa', Apollo, vol.149, June 1999, pp.19-24. On a fan of the early 1690s by Filippo Lauri and its flamboyant contemporary Roman frame of flowers and scrolling acanthus leaves.

Bury, Michael, ‘Documentary Evidence for the Materials and Handling of Banners, principally in Umbria, in the15th and early 16th Centuries', in C. Villers (ed.), The Fabric of Images: European Paintings on Textile Supports in the 14th and 15th Centuries, Archetype Publications, 2000, p.22, reproducing a religious processional banner dating to the 3rd quarter of the 15th century, in the Pinacoteca, Deruta, apparently in its original frame with the fittings for the carrying pole.

Bustin, Mary, 'Recalling the Past: Evidence for the Original Construction of Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels by Agnolo Gaddi', Conservation Research 1996/1997, Studies in the History of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, vol.57, 1997, pp.35-60, 26 illustrations. On the construction of a Florentine triptych by Gaddi of c.1380-90, and the reconstruction of missing elements of the framing.

Callmann, Ellen, 'William Blundell Spence and the transformation of renaissance cassoni', Burlington Magazine, vol.141, June 1999, pp.338-48. A pioneering study of a group of new or 'improved' renaissance-style chests or cassoni, made in Florence in the mid-19th century, but 'framing' genuine 15th-century Florentine cassoni paintings; an original chest in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, is contrasted with later examples in various museums and private collections; dealers including William Blundell Spence, Stefano Bardini and Elia Volpi employed Florentine furniture makers such as Antonio Ponziani and Luigi Frullini to make neo-renaissance furniture.

Cannon-Brookes, Peter, ‘Picture Framing: A Framed Portrait from the Roman Empire', Museum Management and Curatorship, vol.16, 1997, pp.312-4. On a tempera on panel portrait of a woman in its original frame, c. AD 50-70, from Roman Egypt.

Cecchi, Alessandro, 'The conservation of Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo's altar-piece for the Cardinal of Portugal's chapel', Burlington Magazine, vol.141, 1999, pp.81-5, figs. 9, 13, 15. On the frame of this altarpiece in the Uffizi, attributed to Giuliano da Maiano and his brother Benedetto on the basis of style and of payments to the brothers for carpentry work in 1466-7.

Christie's, Old Master Drawings & Paintings, sale catalogue, Milan 22 May 2007, lot 75, Alessandro Marchesini (Verona 1664-1738), a pair of canvases, The Sacrifice of Iphigenia (Iphigenia in Aulis) and Iphigenia in Taurus, from the Baglioni collection. Illustrated with the artist's design for a frame and with quotes from his letters, in which he states that he has painted a pendant to a Solimena for Baglioni, ‘and by means of the carving and gilding [of the frame] have made something very beautiful'. He suggests the same frame for four paintings in the collection of Stefano Conti, and separately sends him the design illustrated, ‘a little drawing (in my own hand), with the profile'. The pattern is a striking Venetian panel frame, with carved floral corners and centres and mirrored reposes.

Fernández-Santos Ortiz-Iribas, Jorge, ‘The inventory of Pietro Mellini's collection at the Palazzo Rosario in 1680', Burlington Magazine, vol.150, August 2008, pp.512-19, 9 illustrations. The interest of this article resides in the Appendix, which sets out the frame types noted in this 17th-century Roman inventory. This goes beyond the usual mention of gilt or black frames, including ‘all'antica carved walnut wood with gilt egg pattern', ‘alla moderna lion-coloured veined in black and with gilt strips', ‘all' antica silver-gilt with gilt flowers', and ‘all' antica with mother-of-pearl intarsia'. The frames are also tagged to indicate whether they are large or small, glazed, new or old, or ‘shallow'.

Franklin, David and Louis Alexander Waldman, ‘Two late altarpieces by Bachiacca', Apollo, vol.154, August 2001, pp.30-5, 9 illustrations. Concerning Bachiacca's Baptism of Christ of 1543 in Buggiano, still in its magnificent original frame, for which some documentation exists.

Gittins, Estelle, The Development of Frame Design in Early Renaissance Venice c. 1460-1510, MA dissertation, St Andrews University, 1999, 66pp, bibliography, etc, 64 figures. On the frames of this period and their social and historical context, with reference to developments in fine and applied arts, and the influence of patronage; considers workshop practices, changes in design, ornamentation and finish, and ends with an assessment of the Vendramin collection.

González-Palacios, Alvar, ‘Concerning Furniture: Roman Documents and Inventories, Part 1, circa 1600-1720’, Furniture History, vol.46, 2010, pp.1-135. Reviewed by Jacob Simon.

Numerous 17th-century Roman craftsmen who made picture frames and other richly ornamented framing devices are identified by documentary references in the various Roman archives studied by the author: Barberini, Borghese, Pamphilj, Rospigliosi, Pallavicini, Sachetti, Odescalchi and the Camerale and Sacra Palazzo Apostolico. Each of these collections is discussed in the introduction. Some documents are published as transcripts, others in the form of summary notes. There is a full index of craftsmen, inconveniently referring to the original volumes, rather than to the text in Furniture History. Many embroideries, pietra commesse and other small works were framed. Below is a note on some of the picture frames (for Barberini, see pp. 30, 34, 40-5, for Borghese, p.70, for Sachetti, pp.91-2, for the Camerale… Apostolico, pp.121-2, 125).

Frames for Cardinal Francesco Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII, include one for a portrait of the Pope, made in 1624 by Simone Laggi, painter and gilder, and several others for works by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610-62), a member of the Barberini household, including a frame for a picture, The Wedding of Peleus, made by Pietro Paolo Giorgetti, intagliatore, for 135 scudi in 1640, a frame for a round picture, The Nativity, made by Remigio, ebanista, for 20 scudi in 1642, a large frame size 26 by 11 palmi, made up of three members, with corner leaves and a relief with a dove above, made by Giorgetti for 47 scudi in 1645, a carved and gilded frame for a Magdalen, a gift to the Spanish ambassador, made by Lorenzo Bartolini in 1651, and an ebony frame for a picture given to another Spanish ambassador, made by Nicolò Cavallini, ebanista, for 8 scudi in 1662. There are also payments to Giuseppe Bellone for copying Guido’s Ariadne to give to the King of England, the frame for which was made by the gilder, Rocco Lolli, for 75 scudi in 1665, subsequently followed by payment to the gilder, Fillipo Marucelli, for the same or a similar picture at a cost of 125 scudi in 1672.

For Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, Giacobo Stella, ‘pittore francese’ supplied two pictures on stone, a Judgement and a Nativity of Christ with its frame for 35 scudi in July 1631 and another two, a Madonna and a Flight into Egypt with its ebony frame for 40 scudi in October the same year. For an idea of the appearance of such pictures, one can look to Ham House in Richmond, where Jacques Stella’s paintings on slate, Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, dated 1637, and Virgin and Child with John the Baptist and angels, both have flat frames in ebony-veneered pine, with ripple mouldings in ebony on the sight and back edges.

In the Archivio Sachetti, there are payments in 1661 of 15 scudi to Domenico Mandelli, wood carver, and 19 scudi to Vincenzo Corallo, gilder, for a large frame for a picture of Alexander the Great, which the author identifies as Pietro da Cortona’s Victory of Alexander over Darius, 1661 (Rome, Pinacoteca Capitolina), still in its original frame with nulled top edge and Carlo ornament in the hollow, not impossibly designed by Cortona himself (fig.12). There is an earlier payment of 47 scudi in 1655 to Vincenzo Corallo for gilding a large frame for a portrait of Alexander VII and four frames for the stories of David according to Pietro da Cortona’s instruction, documenting Cortona’s involvement in this case.

For the Camerale and Sacra Palazzo Apostolico, among many interesting payments, Tomaso Madoni, wood carver, produced four carved black pearwood frames for four drawings by Carlo and Francesco Fontana for the Belvedere apartment in 1706, while Michelangelo Marri, wood carver, produced two frames according to the instruction of Carlo Maratta for two pictures on copper by Ludovico Carracci in 1708, and Carlo Maratta himself was paid for the picture of the Virgin with Jesus and St Anthony of Padua and three cherubs’ heads with a gilded finely carved ebony frame for the King of Siam 1689.

González-Palacios, Alvar, ‘Daguerre, Lignereux and the king of Naples's Cabinet at Caserta', Burlington Magazine, vol.145, 2003, pp.431-42, 15 illustrations. A fascinating exposition of the partnership between Dominique Dageurre, marchand-mercier in late 18th-century Paris, and the ébéniste Martin-Elroy Lignereux. Daguerre was patronized by the courts of pre-revolutionary France, England and Russia, and the governors of the Austrian Netherlands, by whom he and his partner were introduced to King Ferdinand IV of Naples. The article tracks the furniture they provided for the king's Cabinet in the Royal Palace, Caserta, newly decorated in the neo-classical taste; it also discusses and illustrates one of the seven gilt bronze picture frames, designed by Carlo Vanvitelli for landscapes by the German Phillipp Hackert, a favourite of Ferdinand IV.

Higgott, Susan, ‘Sir Richard Wallace's maiolica: sources and display', Journal of the History of Collections, vol.15, no.1, 2003, pp.59-82, 10 illustrations. Describes how Wallace's collection of maiolica was formed in the 19th century; gives a chronological survey of how and when maiolica pieces were framed, with a possible precedent in birth trays; and details the practice in separate centuries, from the 16th to the 19th. Such frames are difficult to date, as there is no means of ascertaining whether a frame was applied when the maiolica was manufactured, or later in the 16th century when it may have been damaged, or by a later collector. The article notes how frame labels may help elucidate provenance, and how frames and maiolica pieces in the Wallace Collection are being reunited to replicate the displays of Sir Richard Wallace's day.

Mosco, Marilena, ‘Two Important Crosten Frames for Two Unpublished Paintings by Bartolomeo Bimbi', DecArt, no.1, March 2004, pp.8-15, 8 illustrations. Discusses two large flower paintings by Bimbi, now in the Accademia del Disegno, Florence, but originally in the Villa di Castello where Cosimo III de' Medici kept his collection of floral art. Both are set in ornately carved frames, identified in an inventory of 1700 as by ‘Vettorio', or the Dutch carver Vittorio Crosten, who worked for Cosimo's court from 1663, producing frames and boiseries. Each frame is composed as a three-dimensional garland reflecting the flowers in the image it houses, and is finished with varied tones of gilding to complement the internal chiaroscuro.

Mosco, Marilena, Cornici dei Medici: La fantasia barocca al servizio del potere. Medici frames: Baroque Caprice for the Medici Princes, Mauro Pagliai, 2007, 272pp, illustrated in colour, with accompanying English translation. Marilena Mosco's most recent and fullest study of the so-called ‘Medici' frames, and the development in Florence of a regional version of the Auricular style which produced them. The work of the great Mannerist designers, from Ammannati to Stefano della Bella, is discussed and illustrated, along with that of the artists who also designed the frames, and the carvers and gilders employed by the Medici.

Norman, Geraldine, ‘In the Frame', Hermitage Magazine, no.1, Summer 2003, pp.8-9, 3 colour illustrations. On the reunion of Titian's Penitent Magdalene with the newly restored frame in which Nicholas I purchased it in 1850 with pictures from the Barbarigo collection in Venice. It is a stunning Mannerist confection with capitals supported by high relief naked male figures, the crest and apron similarly decorated with naked, chained male figures, all of which are said to be captive Turks commemorating the early 17th century Venetian wars with Turkey.

O'Malley, Michael, The Business of Art: Contracts and the Commissioning Process in Renaissance Italy, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2005, 358pp, copiously illustrated. With chapters on materials and production, including ‘Carved Altarpiece Woodwork', ‘Gold Leaf, Blue Pigments and Other Colours', ‘Production Procedures', and ‘Contract Drawings'. The chapter on woodwork contains explanations of contemporary terms in use (‘alla grecha' for a Gothic altarpiece; ‘ornamento' for the carved architectural framework or surround), and a discussion of the relative responsibilities and payment of carver or painter under various surviving contracts. The discussion on the finish of frames notes the use of ‘fine' or 24-carat gold for altarpiece frames (often applied in the painter's workshop), and how, with a complex frame, its cost might eat into an artist's fees (as with Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks and its frame by Giacomo del Maino); silver leaf might also be used. ‘Production Procedures' covers preparation, gilding, painting, installation and maintenance. Changing costs and prices are also examined, and the contractual requirements for the decoration and finish of the framework. ‘Contract Drawings' discusses and illustrates the designs which were submitted as part of the contract, often highly detailed and including measurements of frame elements. The finished appearance of half the frame would generally be indicated, or, where both halves of the frame were depicted, this would offer the client a choice of decoration. A dozen designs for altarpieces with their frames are illustrated.

Penny, Nicholas, 'The Study and Imitation of Old Picture-Frames', Burlington Magazine, vol.140, 1998, pp.375-82, and letter, vol.141, 1999, p.354. A thought-provoking and discursive article, chiefly devoted to the study of Italian renaissance and revival frames but touching more generally on recent literature on the history of framing.

Plazotta, Carol, et al., 'The Madonna di Loretto: An Altarpiece by Perugino for Santa Maria dei Servi, Perugia', National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.27, 2006, pp.72-95. Reproducing the original frame, of simple tabernacle form, supplied by Perugino for this altarpiece in 1507, and listing in an appendix other works where the artist was responsible for supplying the frame.

Schmidt, Victor M., Painted piety: panel paintings for personal devotion in Tuscany 1250-1400, Florence, Centro Di, 2005, including a section on ‘Frames and hinges', pp.37-44. The most usual sort of hinge in early Tuscan painting was the interlocked hinge made of metal wire. Another method was the mortise-and-tenon joint, confined to tabernacles and triptychs and used in a select group of Florentine 14th-century paintings, firstly in a number of tabernacles by Bernardo Daddi, of which the triptych with central panel, Virgin and Child enthroned with saints, dated 1338 (Courtauld Institute), is best preserved. The precursors of the modern plate or book hinge are hardly ever found in Italian panel paintings, although this sort of hinge occurs on the Wilton diptych (National Gallery). Not every work of this kind was hinged: a letter from Domenico di Cambio to Francesco di Marco Datini (the ‘Merchant of Prato') specifically asks if he wants his diptych hinged. Many other frames are illustrated but not discussed in this significant book.

Simon, Jacob, see Framing Italian Renaissance Paintings at the National Gallery, London

Wardropper, Ian, ‘A Silver Relief of the Crucifixion of St Peter by Luigi Valadier', The Sculpture Journal, vol.4, 2000, pp.79-84. A study of Valadier's neo-classical metal frames for his sculptural reliefs.

Wiggins, Arnold, & Sons, A Carved Picture-Frame by Professor Giusti, of Siena, fold-out card, no date but 2006. A brief note on a pair of Renaissance style cassetta frames of c.1860, reproducing an article of 1863 on Giusti's work in the International Exhibition of 1862, with illustrations including Giusti's label. Also available online at Arnold Wiggins & Sons - PROFESSOR GIUSTI

Zuffi, Stefano, The Frame, Evolution and Design. From the Sixties to the Present with Arquati Models, Electa, Milan, 1996, 149pp, text in English and Italian, numerous colour illustrations and sections. A rare example of a promotional publication tracing the history of a contemporary framemaking business, Arquati, from its foundation in 1960 by Franco Arquati in his hometown, Parma, to its present international position; an historical and scene-setting introduction is followed by a discussion of six frame types produced by Arquati; reference is also made to an earlier publication by Paolo Mastromo, Franco Arquati. Un Mondo in Cornice, 1992.