Annotated Bibliography of Frame Publications,
1995 to 2011
By country: Scandinavia, Denmark and Sweden

Barkman, Carl, ‘... med glas och förgyld bildhuggeriram' (The frames used for Lundberg's pastels), in Merit Laine and Carolina Brown, Gustaf Lundberg, 1695-1786: En porträttmålare och hans tid, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 2006, pp.226-33, in Swedish with English summary p.245, numerous illlustrations, some in colour. References to frames are scattered through the book, with various framed works illustrated including a trophy frame for Lundberg's portrait of Gustav III and a drawing of another trophy frame. The authors note two signed frames from the 1770s by an employee of the carver Gustaf Johan Fast, and that frames might be commissioned by the client (in 1728 von Gedda commissioned Louis XIV frames from the French carver Vassé for two Lundberg portraits).

Bjerre, Henrik, et al., Frames: State of the art, exh.cat., Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, 2008, 247pp, copiously illustrated throughout, mainly in colour; separate editions in Danish and English. This is a wide-ranging work, containing pioneering essays on the Danish Royal collections (including acquisitions from a Gonzaga cardinal, gallery framings and looking-glass frames); a chapter on the 19th-century court gilder Damborg; and a short section on the innovative frames of 19th-century Danish artists, from the Neoclassicist designer N.A. Abilgaard to the Arts and Crafts frames of the Slott-Mǿllers. The historical and modernist essays have little new to say about the development of frames from the middle ages and during the 20th century, and the omission of any consideration of Danish altarpieces is unfortunate: Abel Schrǿder is dismissed in half a sentence. There is interest in the discussion and illustration of early frames (of various nationalities) from Danish collections, where they may not previously have been published; and much more in the final emergence of national styles into the discussion with the treatment of Régence and Rococo frames.

The chapter on the Danish Royal collections is fascinating, chequered with war, looting and fires; survivals and decorative schemes outside the Statens Museum are mentioned, but not fully illustrated. Early histories and inventories fill out the losses, noting the use of coloured and even embroidered frames in the 17th century, along with ripple frames and glazing. The section on Cardinal Silvio Gonzaga's collection is treated imaginatively, by including G.P. Panini's painting of the collection as a gallery capriccio, with an Ortolano shown on one wall apparently in the ‘Salvator Rosa' frame with arched spandrels in which it still, perhaps, remains; whilst the several reframings of a Mantegna from the same collection are noted and illustrated. Period reframings of the Royal collections generally are examined historically and philosophically, and the designers, collectors and museum curators associated with them are noted.

Another chapter deals with collections in Frederiksborg and, particularly, Rosenborg Castles. These include early looking-glasses, 17th-century Mannerist and Baroque Danish frames, trophy and gold wire frames, and pierced brass. Entries from inventories and account books fill out the history of these idiosyncratic objects. This is followed by an essay on techniques, court practice, workshop organization, design and style, and the 19th-century exploitation of composition, as seen through the career of the court framemaker and gilder, Peder Christian Damborg (1801-65), and as expressed through his own manuscript on gilding.

The chapter on 19th-century artists' frames commences with a rapid canter through the various schools, from Caspar David Friedrich to the Nazarenes, Pre-Raphaelites, Post-Impressionists and Secessionists. It comes alive with a discussion of frames designed by Danish artists: Kǿbke, Skovgaard, Marstrand, Paulsen, the Slott-Mǿllers and J.F. Willumsen, and by the framemaker Valdemar Kleis and the architect Thorvald Bindesbǿll.

A chapter on technique through the last four hundred years describes gilding by means of French 18th-century terms. It discusses veneering and ripple frames, and notes the use of lacquer (‘aventurine lacquer' seems to have been specific to the court of Frederik IV), and the coming of ‘mass-production' materials and practices.

Note: The exhibition of the same title, for which this is the companion book rather than the catalogue, has been reviewed by Nicholas Penny: ‘Frames: Copenhagen', Burlington Magazine, vol.150, September 2008, pp.635-37, 4 illustrations. This provides an interesting counterpoint to the various chapters of the book, the themes and areas they treat being seen in the light of the actual frames hung in the exhibition.

Sotheby's, Old Master Paintings from the collection of Gustav Adolf Sparre (1746-1794), sale catalogue, London, 5 December 2007. Each lot in this sale is illustrated with a coloured thumbnail of the painting in its frame, underlining the coherence of this collection made in the late 18th century by a Swedish aristocrat and connoisseur, which was framed for him mainly in four types of neo-classical Gustavian carved giltwood frames. The design of these may be attributable to the Swedish court architect Jean Eric Rehn; their execution possibly to the sculptor Gustaf Johan Fast. Where earlier frames (17th-century Italian; a French Chérinesque design) survive, they were regilded to blend in with the collection.