Annotated Bibliography of Frame Publications,
1995 to 2017
Individual collections and dealers
Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire: see National Portrait Gallery - A Guide to Picture Frames at Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie: Hannelore Nützmann (ed), Schöne Rahmen: Aus den Beständen der Berliner Gemäldegalerie, exh. cat., Berlin, 2002, 85pp, copiously illustrated.
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie: Bettina von Roenne, Ein Architekt rahmt Bilder: Karl Friedrich Schinkel und die Berliner Gemäldegalerie, exh. cat., Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, 2007 (see above, By country: Germany).
Britain, Royal Collection: Lucy Whitaker and Jonathan Marsden, ‘Re-framing the Royal Pictures: Episodes in the history of royal taste', Apollo, vol.156, September 2002, pp.50-6, 12 colour illustrations. Notes a few surviving original frames on the works of George Stubbs, Benjamin West, David Wilkie and Thomas Lawrence, among others, and descriptions of others in inventories. Also describes reframing, often of groups of pictures, from the reign of Charles I, through those of William III and George IV, to that of Victoria. The architects and framemakers involved are mentioned, together with the costs. With an appendix describing frames in the Golden Jubilee exhibition at the Queen's Gallery in 2002-3.
Britain, Royal Collection, Lucy Whitaker, ‘”Preparing a handsome picture frame to pattern chosen by HRH The Prince”: Prince Albert frames his collection’, in Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, essays from a study day held at the National Gallery, 2010, published online, 2012, at http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/sites/default/files/V%20and%20A%20Art%20and%20Love%20(Whitaker).pdf, 37pp, copiously illustrated. An excellent account of Prince Albert’s approach to art and framing old masters for the palaces and royal residences, for new acquisitions, for his early Italian paintings in Osborne and for his Cranachs. Albert’s framemakers and the possible role of Ludwig Gruner as a designer are discussed as well as the frames found on pictures from the Oettingen-Wallerstein collection.
Britain, Royal Collection: Exploring frames in the Royal Collection, The Frame Blog, 23 February 2016. Celebrating the addition of 400 images, descriptions and references for picture frames to the Royal Collection website.
Brooklyn Museum of Art: Hilarie M Sheets, ‘An Impressionist Frame of Mind', ARTNews, November 2003, pp.104-8, 4 colour figs. On the recent reframing of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. For paintings by Caillebotte and Degas, their own frame designs were reproduced; for a Matisse and a Monet more radical optical solutions were created.
Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts: Nancy Rivard Shaw, ‘ Marriages, Divorces, and Reconciliations. Challenges in Framing a Museum Collection', inEli Wilner (ed.), The Gilded Edge: The Art of the Frame, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2000, pp.178-93, 14 illustrations. A survey of the framing and reframing of works in the American collection at the Detroit.
Dresden, Gemäldegalerie: Christoph Schölzel, ‘Der Dresdener Galerierahmen Geschichte, Technik, Restaurierung', ZKK: Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung, vol.16, 2002, pp.104-29, 34 illustrations. Considers the 18th-century livery or gallery frames in the Gëmaldegalerie, Dresden, together with their makers, construction and restoration.
Dresden, Gemäldegalerie: ChristophSchölzel (ed.), Die Blendenden Rahmen: Der Dresdener Galerierahmen, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2005, 47pp, 53 illustrations, and construction diagrams (catalogue of an exhibition of ‘Dresden gallery frames' held at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister to coincide with the Dresden conference on frames in 2005). Introduced by Harald Marx, it includes essays by Christoph Schölzel on the construction and restoration of the frames, by Karin Mühlbauer on their gilding and finish, and by Tania Korntheuer-Wardak on the coloured boles used. The Dresden gallery frames were made originally to the designs of Matthias Kugler in the 1760s and Joseph Diebel in the 1770s, and continued to be produced throughout the 19th century. They were used on every genre and period of painting in the Gemäldegalerie, from works by Titian and Garofalo to those by Brueghel and Rembrandt, and include a trophy variant on a pastel by Liotard.
Dresden, Gemäldegalerie: see also National Portrait Gallery - Dresden Gallery Frames
Lord Duveen: Nicholas Penny and Karen Serres, ‘Duveen and the decorators’, Burlington Magazine, vol.149, 2007, pp.400-6, 4 illustrations, and ‘Duveen’s French frames for British pictures’, Burlington Magazine, vol.151, June 2009, pp.388-94, 10 illustrations. Two articles on the dealer Joseph (later Lord) Duveen, who orchestrated the decoration of the homes of wealthy Britons and Americans with tight control, playing French, British and American decorators against each other, and maintaining a high standard of taste in the smallest detail, from curtains to picture frames. These early 20th-century interiors were designed themselves as ‘frames’ for the works of art which were the core of Duveen’s business. The second article presents a clear exposition of the five main patterns of frame used by Duveen to reframe works by British 18th-century portraitists for resale in America. Duveen knew his clients and their taste for the French High Baroque, and supplied them with correspondingly grand Régence, Louis XV and Rococo frames; his designs seem not to have been copied slavishly from prototypes, but were interpreted by skilful Parisian carvers, and by London-based framemakers such as Emile Remy, in large numbers during the forty years before the Second World War.
Lord Duveen, Elizabeth Walmsley, ‘Italian Renaissance Paintings Restored in Paris by Duveen Brothers Inc., c.1927-1929’, Facture: Conservation, Science, Art History, vol.1: Renaissance Masterworks, 2013, pp.58-77, with a section on the numerous frames made for Duveen in the Italian Renaissance style by Ferruccio Vannoni in Florence, pp.69-74, with colour illustrations taken from early lantern slides.
England, Northwick Collection: Oliver Bradbury and Nicholas Penny, ‘The picture collecting of Lord Northwick: Part II', Burlington Magazine, vol.144, 2002, pp.606-17, 19 illustrations. On Northwick's building and furnishing around the 1840s of the picture gallery at Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham and his employment of two London framemakers, Henry George Eckford and Henry Haynes.
England and Ireland, Cobbe Collection: Alec Cobbe,‘The framing and restoration of the Historic Cobbe Collection', in Alastair Laing (ed.), Clerics & Connoisseurs: The Rev. Matthew Pilkington, the Cobbe Family and the Fortunes of an Irish Art Collection through Three Centuries, English Heritage, 2001, pp.74-9, 24 illustrations. From the book accompanying the exhibition at Kenwood House, London; a study of the framing of this 18th-century Irish collection, based on family account books, surviving labels, and comparison of the various frame of styles.
England, Suffolk Collection, Laura Houliston, The Suffolk Collection: a catalogue of paintings, English Heritage, 2012, pp.318-22, appendix 4, ‘Picture Frames’, 10 illustrations. Discussing the framing of the Suffolk Collection chronologically, including repeating frame types, labelled frames and evidence from inventories.
Falmouth Art Gallery: Brian Stewart, with Lynn Roberts and Paul Mitchell, Falmouth Frameworks, Sansom & Co Ltd, 2011, hardback, 208pp, illustrated in colour throughout. Reviewed by Jacob Simon.
This handsome large format book is a tribute to the late lamented Brian Stewart's extraordinary energy as director of Falmouth Art Gallery in Cornwall, his engagement with children's learning in museums and his enthusiasm for contemporary art. With support from foundations and individuals, the framing of the Falmouth collection has been transformed in a three-year project, designed 'to raise awareness of the importance of historical and artist-designed frames, and the marriage between frame and work'. The resulting book is testimony to this project, with an introduction by Stewart, an essay by Lynn Roberts on 'Frames for the Falmouth Art Gallery collection’, a note on the Sully family picture frame making business active in Falmouth from 1920, a catalogue section with generous double page treatment of more than 85 frames arranged alphabetically by artist (rather than chronologically which would have been more illuminating), concluded by a section on framing children's artwork, a glossary and a bibliography.
The question arises as to whether the quality of this particular collection and its frames is best suited to a book on this scale but there is no doubt about the ambition of the exercise. The book provides a wealth of information but in the process raises all sorts of questions concerning the framing and reframing of pictures. The 30-plus historic original or early frames in the book date from the late 18th century onwards. A further 44 pictures, more than half of those featured, mainly by 19th and 20th-century artists, have been reframed by Paul Mitchell Ltd. Another ten have been framed or reframed by or on behalf of contemporary artists.
Of the original frames, many of the most interesting come from the munificent gift to Falmouth in 1923 by Alfred de Pass, about whose taste in pictures and framing it would have been interesting to have learnt more. His gift included a pair of works by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, John Arnesby Brown’s A summer day – a study for A June day, 1913, framed by J.J. Patrickson, and Laura Knight’s In the Coulisse, in a Whistler frame by her framemaker, J.H. Steer.
More recent acquisitions include Thomas Gainsborough's portrait, Rev. Isaac Donnithorm, in a plain Maratta frame, William Ayerst Ingram's watercolour, Bathing, Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth in a gilt canvas frame of the 1890s in the spirit of Mortimer Menpes, three oil paintings by Ingram, one framed by Sully’s (and hence later) and John Singer Sargent’s 1905 head of his fellow artist, Napier Hemy, in a Maratta frame, perhaps chosen by the sitter.
On the reframings, in one case, John William Waterhouse’s Study for The Lady of Shallot, before and after shots are reproduced. Otherwise, very little is done to inform the reader on what went before. Some of the new frames are strong visually, such as Francis Hewlett’s Self-portrait in a stained and polished frame. Others are more open to question. This reviewer is inherently cautious about the wisdom of reframing collections on a large-scale, even when in experienced and well-informed hands. But this was the nature of the brief provided by Falmouth.
Florence, Palazzo Pitti: Marilena Mosco and Edit Revai (eds), Cornici Barocche e Stampe. Restaurate dai Depositi di Palazzo Pitti, exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1998, published by Sillabe s.r.l., Livorno, pp.8-17, 24-47, 94-5. Ten fine 17th and early 18th-century Florentine frames are catalogued, with an introductory essay by Mosco, extracts from contemporary inventories (prepared by Jennifer Celani) and a bibliography; a welcome contribution to our understanding of Florentine auricular and baroque frames and the riches of the historic Palazzo Pitti collections.
Florence, Palazzo Pitti: see BY COUNTRY: ITALY, under Mosco, Marilena
France, Cardinal Mazarin: Patrick Michel, Mazarin, Prince de Collectionneurs, Notes et documents des musees de France, no.34, Paris 1999, pp.396-7, on ‘Le format et le cadre'. It is not possible to speak of a uniform Mazarin frame. The 1661 Mazarin inventory reveals at least four main frame types: giltwood frames, most commonly found on historical, mythological and religious subjects, black frames ornamented with gilt fillets, most commonly found on 16th-century portraits, marbled frames and ebony frames. Michel identifies the use of simple giltwood mouldings and, exceptionally, some richer frame as for Bernardino's Luini's Nativity in 1644. The relative simplicity and sobriety of most of Mazarin's picture frames contrasted with the richness of those used to frame his mosaics. Clearly the Cardinal took an interest in the framing of his pictures, as is indicated in his correspondence in 1658, when he asked to be told which pictures lacked frames at all and which pictures were not in gilded frames. Some pictures came into the collection with their original frames such as Guercino's David and Abigail which kept its frame bearing the Barberini coat of arms. Other Italian acquisitions were framed in Italy for the Cardinal, apparently in Rome, with payments being made to gilders such as Pietro Paolo Giorgetti, Francesco Amati and Ascanio Bavigrine. Michel provides no account of actual surviving frames.
The Hague, Mauritshuis, Mauritshuis frames: Part 1 | The Frame Blog, 29 July 2014, and Mauritshuis frames: Part II: trophy frames | The Frame Blog, 28 August 2014. Two articles first published in Mauritshuis in focus, 27 (2014), no.1, pp. 6-12 and 14-21: Quentin Buvelot, ‘Mauritshuis Frames’, and Anne Lenders, ‘Trophy Frames’. Buvelot’s article traces the history and documentation of frames at the Mauritshuis, the influence of new directors and the replacement of frames, including works by Holbein, and ongoing work in replacing frames. Lenders’ article looks at the trophy frames in the collection, discussing their history, technical research and treatment.
Ham House, Richmond, England: Jacob Simon, ‘Picture Framing at Ham in the Seventeenth Century’, in Christopher Rowell (ed.), Ham House: 400 Years Collecting and Patronage, 2013, pp. 144-57, 18 illustrations. A survey of the superlative 17th-century auricular and other frames at Ham, a unique and very special collection ranging in date from the 1630s to the 1670s.
Ham House, Richmond, Jacob Simon, Picture Frames at Ham House, 2014, 36pp, numerous illustrations, also available to download at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/document-1355850583637/ . An illustrated historical guided tour of the splendid frames at Ham House, arranged in three sections: Ham House in the 1630s, Ham House in the 1670s and Ham House in the 1740s.
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire: Christopher Rowell, ‘Picture Frames at Hardwick’, in David Adshead and David Taylor (eds), Hardwick Hall: A Great Old Castle of Romance, 2016, pp 341-5. A short chronological survey of significant frames at Hardwick Hall: black frames with gilt mouldings for Tudor pictures, auricular frames and others from the 17th century and a few significant 18th century frames.
Isola Bella,Collezione Borromeo: Alessandro Morandotti and Mauro Natale, Collezione Borromeo: La Galleria dei Quadri dell'Isola Bella, Milan, Silvana Editoriale, 2011, 415 pp, the catalogue copiously illustrated in colour, and the introductions in black and white. Including a short essay on pp.380-5 by Patrizia Zambrano, 'Una nota preliminare per le cornice della Galleria dei Quadri del Palazzo Borromeo all'Isola Bella', and reproductions and catalogue notes on 120 frames by Zambrano and Daniela Simone.
The pictures were seen by the historian, Gilbert Burnet, later Bishop of Salisbury, while in exile in 1686: 'Here is a great collection of noble pictures, beyond anything I saw out of Rome'. Building work was in course at this time and Burnet wrote, 'when all is finished, this place will look like an Inchanted Island'. The two most celebrated members of the Borromeo family were St Carlo Borromeo and Cardinal Federico Borromeo. The collection has been maintained by subsequent princes of the Borromeo family and the historic gallery restored in the 1980s. It is said to be the only private gallery outside of Rome which is open to the public.
Knole, Kent: see National Portrait Gallery - A Guide to Picture Frames at Knole, Kent
Leeds, Temple Newsam House and LothertonHall: Christopher Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Leeds 1998, vol.3, pp.642-3, 726-7. Updating Gilbert's two-volume 1978 catalogue, notably reproducing a compo frame made by the London framemaker, Alexander Miller, for a printed speech of the Duke of York in c.1825.
London, Foundling Hospital: see National Portrait Gallery - Picture frames at the Foundling Museum, London
London, National Gallery: Lorne Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues. The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish School, London, 1998, p.29. This excellent catalogue discusses and illustrates the frames on seven pictures which retain their original frames, two of which are integral, one partly integral and partly applied and four engaged; the catalogue also provides evidence, chiefly relating to colour, as to the appearance of the lost original frames of another ten pictures.
London, National Gallery: Louisa Davey, ‘Framing at the National Gallery', in Gilding: Approaches to Treatment. A joint conference of English Heritage and the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation, 27-28 September 2000, English Heritage, 2001, pp.47-52, 6 illustrations. On framing policy at the National Gallery, including the reframing of works by Turner.
London, National Gallery: National Gallery Review of the Year: April 2007 to March 2008, 2008, pp.24-8, 8 illustrations, also pp.42-3. The review includes a brief report on reframing in period settings undertaken by the Gallery in 2006 and 2007 (Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks, Morales' Virgin and Child, Carracci's Marriage of the Virgin and two works by Chardin). Reproductions are also noted, including, for example, the Gothic altarpiece frame created for Matteo di Giovanni's Assumption of the Virgin, so that it could be displayed in the exhibition Renaissance Siena: Art for a City in a structure which united it with the original side panels. A list of period and reproduction reframings in 2007-8 is followed by a section on the ‘Study of the original polychromy of Italian Renaissance frames', made in collaboration with conservators from the V&A Museum, and focusing on the late 15th-century Tuscan frame now on The Virgin and Child with an Angel by an imitator of Filippo Lippi.
London, National Gallery: Nicholas Penny, A Closer Look: Frames, National Gallery, 2010, 96pp, numerous colour illustrations, revised and expanded edition of Pocket Guides: Frames, 1997, with sections on attached frames, detachable frames, tabernacle and cassetta frames, frames for the picture collector, frames for the picture gallery, frames for the public gallery, texture and detail, notable frames in the National Gallery and further reading. A commendable short introduction to frames in the National Gallery.
London, National Gallery: Peter Schade and Nicholas Penny, ‘Framing and reframing Rembrandt’, The National Gallery Review of the Year April 2008-March 2009, The National Gallery, 2009, pp.30-32, 4 illustrations. A brief note on Rembrandt’s Self-portrait at the age of 63, 1669, and his Elderly man as St Paul, c.1659, both recently reframed by the Gallery from their previous French giltwood settings into 17th-century Dutch frames, of ebony and ebonized pearwood respectively. The old frames are compared and contrasted with the much higher quality collector’s French Régence frame on the Gallery’s Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels, which is itself bracketed with the superb frame made for Poussin’s Adoration of the golden calf. This implicitly raises (but does not answer) the question: how far should the modern reframing of works in anachronistic but beautiful collectors’ frames go? A list is appended of all the NG works reframed in antique, Gallery stock or reproduction frames during 2008-9.
London, National Gallery:The National Gallery: Review of the Year April 2010 –March 2011, pp.20-4, on reframing pictures by Moroni and Garofalo.
London, National Gallery: Peter Schade, ‘Reframing Luca Giordano’s Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone’, The National Gallery Review of the Year April 2012-March 2013, The National Gallery, 2013, pp.40-2, 2 illustrations. A brief note on reframing the large Giordano in a carved and partly gilded Florentine 17th-century frame, described as arguably the most significant frame acquired by the Gallery in the last 60 years. An appendix lists 13 other paintings reframed in newly acquired antique frames in 2012-13 including Fra Bartolommeo’s Virgin adoring the Child with St John (plain finely gilt moulding with a pronounced narrow top edge, separated from the sight edge by a wide flat frieze), Le Nain Brothers Four Figures at Table (fine carved and gilt Louis XIII foliage frame) and Goya’s Don Andrés del Peral (neoclassical frame, gilt, with a top edge of running motif between narrow fillets, a quarter hollow and a narrow inner frieze set between pearls and a tooth sight edge).
London, National Gallery, see National Portrait Gallery - Framing Italian Renaissance Paintings at the National Gallery, London
London, National Gallery, Harriet O’Neill, ‘Twenty-first century approaches to reframing Italian Renaissance panels at the National Gallery’, in Rebecca Gordon, Erma Hermens, Frances Lennard (eds), Authenticity and Replication: The 'Real Thing' in Art and Conservation, 2014, pp.49-60. On the effect of frames on our readings of paintings, treating philosophical readings of reframings, reframing and authenticity at the National Gallery, contemporary reframing in the Sainsbury wing, and reframing using old frames, illustrated by framed works by leading renaissance artists.
London, National Gallery, National Gallery frames: an interview with Peter Schade | The Frame Blog, 22 March 2014. Lynn Roberts interviews Peter Schade, Head of the Framing Department at the National Gallery, about his work and that of the department, reproducing significant frames in the collection and recent reframings, including works by Veronese, Rembrandt, Poussin, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.
London, National Gallery, Lynn Roberts, National Gallery, London: new Mannerist frames | The Frame Blog, 25 June 2014. Reproducing and discussing the reframing of three important paintings, by Andrea del Sarto, Bronzino and Johann Liss.
London, National Gallery, Lynn Roberts, Reframing the Renaissance: Museums and Madonnas | The Frame Blog, 21 December 2014. Asking how museums deal with unsuitably framed or unframed paintings and highlighting solutions from the V & A and the National Gallery, London: Carlo Crivelli’s Virgin and Child at the V & A in a replica aedicular frame and Luca Signorelli’s Adoration of the Shepherds at the National Gallery in an extended and restored period altarpiece frame.
London, National Gallery: Reframing Mantegna, The Frame Blog, 21 January 2015. Featuring the use of an antique walnut cassapanca bench as a source of mouldings to reframe Mantegna’s Introduction of the Cult of Cybele in Rome (National Gallery) of the kind the picture may have had in its original setting in the panelling of a room.
London, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Helen Dorey, ‘The Historic Framing and Presentation of Watercolours, Drawings and Prints at Sir John Soane's Museum', in Nancy Bell (ed.), Historic Framing and Presentation of Watercolours, Drawings and Prints (proceedings of conference held 1996), Institute of Paper Conservation, Leigh, Worcester, 1997, pp.20-31, 21 black and white illustrations.
London, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Jane Wilkinson, ‘Making Mrs Soane’s Morning Room “permanently magical”’ in Conserving Context: Relating Object Treatment to Collections and Settings, ed. Gerry Alabone, 2014, pp. 89-100, 14 illustrations. On conservation work in progress in Mrs Soane’s Morning Room at Sir John Soane’s Museum and in particular on the conservation philosophy and on the cleaning of several important gilt picture frames.
London, Tate Gallery:John Anderson,‘Dip and strip, not quite but almost', in Gilding: Approaches to Treatment. A joint conference of English Heritage and the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation, 27-28 September 2000, English Heritage, 2001, pp.59-66, 6 illustrations. On framing treatment at the Tate Gallery, focusing on four case studies.
London, Victoria and Albert Museum: Christine Powell and Zoë Allen, Italian Renaissance frames at the V&A: A Technical Study (cover), Butterworth-Heinemann, 2010 (but actually 2009), 328pp, numerous colour illustrations, cross sections and technical figures.
This is a technical study, as described on the book's cover but not on the title page itself. It provides detailed information on 37 frames in the museum's collection, three of which can be found married to pictures in the National Gallery and so on display there. This pioneering survey has been researched and published thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of the collector, Timothy Plaut.
The book is well illustrated with excellent colour plates, frame sections and, in some cases, paint cross sections, infrared and chromatogram graphs. The reverses of almost all the frames are illustrated. The quality and range of illustrations sets a new standard for a catalogue of frames. The book includes an introduction on Renaissance materials and techniques and a glossary. It is arranged in five sections, tabernacle frames, cassetta and tondo frames, mirror frames, Sansovino frames and, finally, a chapter devoted to ‘Part Renaissance and Renaissance style frames'.
The great strength of the book lies in its detailed analysis of individual frames, so enabling an understanding of the frame's original appearance. The striking early 16th-century cassetta frame with gilt carved foliage on a blue ground (no.13), now housing Sebastiano del Piombo's Madonna and Child with saints and a donor (National Gallery) was formerly to be seen on Titian's Noli me Tangere in the same collection. At some stage, the frame was altered in size to fit and the blue background repainted. Another spectacular example of the use of gilt carving against a blue ground, a late 15th-century tabernacle frame with perspective arch and predella frieze carved with the instruments of Christ's Passion (no.8), perhaps originally housing a crucifixion or a ciborium, is likely to have been enlarged at both sides, as technical and stylistic analysis suggests.
At its best, detailed scientific analysis of individual frames, together with careful observation and stylistic comparisons, enables a deeper understanding. In other cases, the paint samples and chromatograms form a body of data which over time, as other studies are published, should further understanding of technique. The authors point out that for good reason they have not been able to undertake scientific analysis of the woods from which the frames are made. They have been particularly cautious about visual identification of timbers. Thus, the Sansovino frame from the Soulages collection (no.28) is somewhat surprisingly described as made of walnut or mahogany. If mahogany the frame is either an extremely early example of this wood's use in Italy, or an indication that the frame is a fake or later reproduction; either way this would have been worthy of comment in a technical study.
The survey does not pretend to be comprehensive, as can be seen from two examples. It would have been invaluable if the systematic approach shown in this book could have been brought to the fine flat frieze frame on Donatello's relief, The Ascension with Christ giving the Keys to St Peter (c.1428-30) which in late 2009 was described on the V&A's website both as dating from the fifteenth century and likely to be that recorded in the inventory of 1492 and as probably dating from the nineteenth century but possibly made from reused carved wood sections. Another example, Jacopo Sansovino's early model, The Descent of Christ (c.1513), housed in an unusual wooden tabernacle thought to date from the early 16th century, would have added to the limited number of frames in the catalogue with a specific context.
The Victoria and Albert Museum collection was formed almost entirely by purchase between 1855 and 1892, with a handful of subsequent gifts, purchases and bequests, generally of somewhat lesser quality. Some of the earliest acquisitions came from the collection of Jules Soulages (1803-56), a Toulouse lawyer. Others were purchased in Florence from William Blundell Spence (1814-1900), a leading English collector, or from Tito Gagliardi. A single frame came as a bequest from the collector, John Meeson Parsons (1798-1870). In the case of Spence, recent studies have begun to uncover the network of makers and restorers that he relied on. It may be that closer attention to the provenance of the collection would have helped understanding of condition and originality. In the 1880s and 1890s purchases were made from the Bond Street antique dealer and V&A benefactor, Sir George Donaldson (1845-1925) and from the leading Florentine dealer, Stefano Bardini (1836-1922). Thus the collection is one of the first of its kind, as Timothy Plaut points out in his introduction. It was not formed as a collection of frames so much as a series of examples of significance as woodwork or for the sculptures or paintings contained within the frames.
If the authors show little curiosity in the history of the formation of the collection and limited interest in the history and development of Italian Renaissance frames, this is because their focus is on the construction and technique of the frames in the collection. Although a number of picture frame experts were consulted by the authors, the regret has to be that they did not take advantage of the huge curatorial expertise available at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Nevertheless, as a technical study, this book is exceptional. Reviewed by Jacob Simon.
London, Victoria and Albert Museum: Zoë Allan, The Baroque Galleries at the V & A: Frames, The Frame Blog, 25 March 2016. Frames and reframings in the new displays, with a short afterword on various baroque frames by Lynn Roberts.
London, Wallace Collection: Stephen Duffy and Jo Hedley, The Wallace Collection's Pictures: A Complete Catalogue, 2004, pp.xxxv-xxxvii. A short section of this catalogue discusses the main frame types and some other frames of interest in the Wallace Collection, including six excellent illustrations, as follows. A French revival Louis XV swept frame for the 3rd Marquess of Hertford, perhaps belonging to the 1810s, with a name label, reading CUYP, on A Shepherd with his Flock, ascribed to this artist. A fluted frame with simple acanthus leaf corners for the 4th Marquess of Hertford by W. & P. Evans, 1850s, one of over 100 supplied by this business. A reverse profile frame with guilloche on the top edge, applied to Boucher's A Summer Pastoral, perhaps by Sir Richard Wallace, early 1870s. A fluted livery frame with very pronounced shell, leaf and scroll corners of a type used by the duc de Morny, 1862-5, found on Meissonier’s Halt at an Inn. A pierced and scrolling leaf livery frame of a type used by Anatole Demidoff, Prince of San Donato, used for his Dutch and Flemish paintings, probably 1840s, found on Hobbema’s A Ruin on the Bank of the River. The purpose designed highly elaborate frame found on Ary Scheffer's Francesca da Rimini, applied in about 1855 when owned by Anatole Demidoff.
Madrid,Museo Sorolla:Los marcos tallados del Museo Sorolla, pieza del mes, September 2012, available online at http://museosorolla.mcu.es/pdf/septiembre_piezames.pdf. An excellent short online survey, 30pp, with numerous colour illustrations, identifying the main frame types and framemakers used by the artist Joaquín Sorolla, as found in the collection of the Museo Sorolla in Madrid. With technical explanations and an illustrated glossary. Frames by Antonio Roldán of Seville are reproduced, as are Roldán’s frame labels. A discussion on Roldán and reproductions of traditional Sevillian 17th-century frames identifies other Seville framemakers including José Gil y Co and Joaquín Santana, in the period, 1908-14. Further modern frames were supplied by José Cano, who set up a framing workshop in Madrid in 1907. Sorolla also obtained frames in Madrid from the restorer, gilder and painter, José Suárez, and the gilder, Emilio García Garcia Ruíz.
Madrid, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Marta Palao and Susana Perez, ‘Los marcos de la Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza. Adaptación a las nuevas exigencias expositivas’, in El marco en España: historia, conservación y restauración, 2009, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, pp.39-58, published online (for details, see BY COUNTRY: SPAIN, under Timón Tiemblo). An illustrated listing of frames and discussion of conservation requirements.
Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria: see BY COUNTRY: AUSTRALIA, under Payne, John
Munich, Alte Pinakothek, see GERMANY, Siefert, Helge
Munich, Pfefferle collection: Christian Burchard, ‘Bilderrahmen, Sprache der Ornamente: Beispiele aus der Sammlung Pfefferle, München', Barockberichte: Informationsblätter des Salzburger Barockmuseums zur bildenden Kunst des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, no.24/25, 1999, pp.397-412. Illustrates 27 frames in colour from the Pfefferle collection of French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch frames shown at the Salzburg Barockmuseum.
New Haven, Yale Center for British Art: The center’s website hosts a pioneering survey of frames on pictures in the collection at http://britishart.yale.edu/collections/search/frames . However, the value of the survey is severely compromised, firstly because the online collection is no longer compatible with Internet Explorer, and secondly because it is not possible to navigate from frame to picture and from picture to frame. A survey which treats frames as isolated objects independent of their pictures has limited value. This is not to denigrate the survey itself, which is pioneering and commendable, but to highlight the need for further technical work on the database. The value of this collection is made clear by Matthew Hargreaves, in his text, Frames at the Yale Center for British Art, November 2012, on ‘The Frame Blog’.
New Haven, Yale Center for British Art: Matthew Hargraves, Frames at the Yale Center for British Art, on the task of cataloguing the YCBA’s collection of picture frames, and making it available online. Published by the Frame Blog.
New Haven, Yale Center for British Art: Emmanuelle Delmas-Glass, ‘The YCBA frame collection: using semantic web technology to contribute to the scholarship of British art’, in Rosário Salema de Carvalho (ed.), Azulejos and Frames, ARTIS ON, digital journal, no.2, 2016, pp.9-23. Apparently no longer accessible online. Discussing the use of a data management and dissemination strategy to allow cultural knowledge to be reused by scholars. For framing historians the value of this article probably lies in the illustrations. The remainder of this issue of an online journal is devoted to Portuguese baroque azulejo tiles and frames.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art: Timothy Newbery, Frames in the Robert Lehman Collection (cover), The Robert Lehman collection XIII Frames (title page), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007, 465pp, copiously illustrated including many sectional line drawings. This major study catalogues 371 frames in 19 sections, the first ten devoted to regions of Italy, a further five to France, treated by period, and the remaining to Spain, Central and Northern Europe, England and the United States. With the exception of a few of the earliest Italian frames which are engaged or integral to the work of art, these frames have been divorced from their original context. This means that catalogue depends on technical analysis, where Newbery gives a succinct and well informed summary for each frame, and on stylistic comparisons. Newbery is often very precise in placing frames, allocating examples, for instance, to Sicily and Naples in the South of Italy and to Milan, Turin, Genoa and Piedmont in the North. He is also often fairly exact in his datings. Newbery is one of the few individuals who can hope to undertake this exercise successfully but on occasion his descriptions seem overly precise in our present state of knowledge. To take the English frames in the catalogue, experience suggests that the date ranges cannot be given with such confidence. Nevertheless, a significant and pioneering achievement. Reviewed by Jacob Simon.
New York, New York Chamber of Commerce, David L. Barquist, ‘The Whole Lustre of Gold: Framing and Displaying Power at the Chamber of Commerce’, in Karl Kusserow, Picturing Power: Portraiture and Its Uses in the New York Chamber of Commerce, New York, 2011, pp.275-318, reproducing 17 paintings in their frames. The main focus of the collection lies in the period after 1860, when the Chamber of Commerce began collecting in earnest. It would appear that it was the donors of the paintings, rather than the Chamber which controlled the choice of frames.
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum: Timothy Newbery, Frames and Framings in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Museum, 2002 (so dated but published 2003), 80pp, 37 colour illustrations plus frame sections. With a brief introduction on the history of frames, this instructive booklet catalogues thirty-four of the most notable frames in the museum, describing their style, construction and finish, encompassing examples ranging from 14th-century Italy to 20th-century Britain. Reviewed by Jacob Simon, The Art Newspaper, May 2003.
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum: Timothy Newbery, ‘Appendix of Original Frames in the Ashmolean Museum', in The Ashmolean Museum: Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings, Catherine Casley et al. (eds), Oxford, 2004, pp.293-6. A listing of frames on works in the museum considered to be broadly original to those works, with a single line description, place of origin, date, together with the title of the work, artist, date (if different from that of the frame) and accession number. Such a list is of great interest, especially because of the number of frames identified as original or possibly original, but frustrating because of its brevity.
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum: Timothy Newbery and Jevon Thistlewood, An Auricular frame amongst the Founder’s Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Auricular Style: Frames blog, 28 October 2016, discussing various auricular frames in the Ashmolean Museum, with details of technical analysis.
Oxford, Christ Church: Christopher Baker, ‘Framing Fox-Strangways', Journal of the History of Collections, vol.17, no.1, 2005, pp.73-84, 19 figs. On the Italian Renaissance collections of the Hon. William Fox-Strangways, presented to Christ Church and the Ashmolean Museum in 1828, 1834 and 1850. Many of these paintings retain the frames in which they were presented: original integral or engaged frames, 19th-century architrave ‘gallery' frames, or a radically simplified flat border with inscribed cartouche. The Christ Church frames also bear Fox-Strangways' initials on the top right-hand corner, identifying the two bequests of 1828 and 1834. Fox-Strangways's reframing of Bronzino's Giovanni de' Medici in a Mannerist frame decorated by Francesco Salviati is also noted.
Paris, Frits Lugt: Esther Scholten, 'L'oeuvre d'art et son cadre: Des cadres de la Collection Frits Lugt', in Cadres revisités: Chefs-d'oeuvres de la photographie néerlandaise présentés dans les cadres anciens de la Collection Frits Lugt, exh. cat., Fondation Custodia, Paris, 2005, pp.53-71. The catalogue (in French) of an exhibition of contemporary portrait photographs, displayed in French, Italian, Spanish and German frames from the 15th to the 18th century, with an accompanying essay and a short appendix at the back, cataloguing the frames themselves, 26 in number. The essay covers well-trod ground but with interesting references, for example to the early display of framed drawings and to Ingres's preference in 1840 for a frame for his Odalisque as wide and as baroque as possible, to be in the Turkish style (‘du turc').
Rome, Barberini, Borghese, Pamphilj, Rospigliosi, Pallavicini, Sachetti, Odescalchi and the Camerale and Sacra Palazzo Apostolico, see ITALY, González-Palacios.
Rome, Corsini Collection:Maria Letizia Papini, L'ornamento della pittura. Cornici, arredo e disposizione della Collezione Corsini di Roma nel XVIII secolo, Nuova Argos Edizioni Srl, Rome, 1998, especially pp.101-20. With a chapter on frames in the Corsini collection, an appendix of payments to framemakers from 1731 to 1780 and a section of black-and-white plates reproducing 32 frames. This excellent survey of one of the major Roman collections, much of which is on public display in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in the Palazzo Corsini, documents the dominant use of Salvator Rosa frames (usually called Carlo Maratta frames by the British) in the 18th century, and the use of cassetta and more elaborate models in the 17th century. Documentation from inventories and 18th-century framing bills are married to surviving frames. Some pictures were acquired with their frames, e.g. Carlo Maratta's oval Holy Family. The book also discusses the formation and the hanging of the collection.
Rome, Galleria Pallavicini: Daniela di Castro et al., Il Palazzo Pallavicini Rospigliosi e la Galleria Pallavicini, Rome, 2000, pp.315-6.Reproducing three elaborate carved, painted and gilded Roman trophy frames of the third quarter of the 17th century: that on a portrait of Queen Christina of Sweden, probably dating to after 1661, with her symbol of three royal crowns surmounting a foliage frame. A second on a portrait of Cardinal Flavio I Chigi, ornamented with the Chigi family ‘monti’, stars and oak leaves, was perhaps originally on another picture of a type for which the carver Antonio Chiccari charged 30 scudi in 1669 when framing a portrait of Clement IX. There are also earlier payments in 1658 to the gilder Camillo Saraceni for gilding similarly elaborate carved frames. The third frame is ornamented on each side with a castle and a rampant lion, the top the Spanish royal crown, the bottom with a pomegranate,and may have once housed a portrait of Philip IV of Spain. Other elaborate mirror and mosaic frames are reproduced.
Spain, La Granja de San Ildefonso, see BY COUNTRY: SPAIN, under Aterido, Ángel
Spain, Monastery of Guadelupe: María Pía Timón Tiemblo, ‘Los marcos de los cuadros de Zurbarán en la Sacristia del Monasterio de Guadelupe’, a sub-section of a chapter in El marco en España: historia, conservación y restauración, 2009, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, pp.17-21, published online (for details, see BY COUNTRY: SPAIN, under Timón Tiemblo). A summary discussion of the so-called Herrera frames on the set of paintings by Zurbaran dating to the late 1630s, describing the frames, their design, carving and sources of inspiration.
USA, Colby College Museum of Art, Eli Wilner 'Surrounding Beauty: Period Frames in the Lunder Collection' , In The Lunder Collection: A Gift of Art to Colby College, 2013, pp.232-5, five illustrations. Treating frames in the Lunder Collection, recently given to Colby College, Waterville, Maine.
USA: Daniel B. Schneider, ‘The Frame-Up', ARTnews, vol.99, February 2000, pp.142-7, 10 illustrations. A journalist surveys American museum attitudes to period framing of their collections, focusing on the Cone bequest of Matisses at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art at Washington, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
USA, Dicke Collection: Todd D. Smith(ed.), American Art from the Dicke Collection, exh. cat., Dayton Art Institute, Ohio, 1997, with essay by Eli Wilner, 'The Frame is the Soul of the Painting: Period Frames in the Dicke Collection'. A recent example of reframing using period frames.
USA, General Services Administration: GretchenGoodell, Historic Frames in the Fine Arts Collection, US General Services Administration (Fine Arts Program) and International Institute for Frame Study, 1999, unpaginated. A basic survey of some framed works from the 1930s and 1940s belonging to the General Services Administration collection, based on frame record sheets, organized by accession number, and indexed by artist. It is illustrated in black-and-white, with two to three illustrations to each work; the text comprises basic technical and conservation information.
USA, Huber Family Collection, see Susan G. Larkin, ‘On the Edge: Frames in the Huber Family Collection’, in Barbara J. MacAdam, ed., Embracing Elegance 1885-1920: American Art from the Huber Family Collection, exh.cat., Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH 2011, pp 24-30, 10 illustrations. A judicious and well-presented survey, mainly of American late 19th and early 20th century frames, on pictures in the Huber Family Collection, some original to their paintings, others recent marriages.
USA, Justine Simoni: The Art of the Frame: Gems from the Simoni Collection, exh. cat., Pensacola Museum of Art, Florida, 2004, 47pp, 27 colour illustrations. A survey of 22 American frames from the collection of Justine Simoni, with catalogue entries by Suzanne Smeaton; these include several frames by well-known American framemakers including Stanford White, Foster Brothers, Newcomb-Macklin Company, Charles Prendergast and Walfred Thulin.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: David Park Curry, ‘ What's in a Frame?', inEli Wilner (ed.), The Gilded Edge: The Art of the Frame, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2000, pp.134-55, 17 illustrations. A survey of attitudes to framing and reframing the American collection at the Virginia Museum.
Washington DC, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Sarah Cash (ed.), Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945, 2011, 336pp, copiously illustrated. This handsome and weighty catalogue of American paintings in the historic Corcoran Gallery reproduces some 30 pictures in their frames, just under a third of the total, a particularly welcome decision in view of the importance of the collection for its 19th-century and early 20th-century frames. But few of the frames are discussed in the text.
Thomas Cole asked his friend and fellow painter, Asher Brown Durand, to order frames, to be ‘massy, covered with small ornament, no curves or scallops’ for his two landscapes, The Departure and The Return, 1837. John Singer Sargent’s full-length Madame Edouard Pailleron, 1879, is housed in an extremely rich French Salon frame with a fruit-and-leaf cushion as one of five bands of decoration, a distinctive style that can also be found on Gustave Moreau's slightly later Narcisse in the Moreau Museum, Paris (see John Singer Sargent and picture framing). Thomas Dewing’s Lady with a Mask, 1911, has a frame of exceptional width and intricacy, and given his interest in Stanford White frames, the reader could reasonably expect the framing to be explained. Fortunately the Carrig-Rohane frames on Abbott Thayer’s Mount Monadnock, c.1911/4 and Childe Hassam’s The New York Window, 1912, are reproduced and discussed. Both Ernest Lawson’s Boathouse, c.1916, and Cecilia Beaux’s Sita and Sarita, c.1921, have similar Newcomb-Macklin patterns, which originated in the 1880s, but their origins and, more especially, their differences remain to be explained (one is gilt, the other stained).
In the introduction (p.37), it is stated that the acquisition of historically and stylistically appropriate American frames has been one of the Corcoran's priorities, and three major paintings in the collection have been reframed, including John Singer Sargent's En route pour la pêche, reframed as recently as 2009.
- Annotated Bibliography of Frame Publications, 1995-2010
- General surveys
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