Friday, 24 June 2011

Swept frame for repair

This little antique swept frame came in today for some repairs, it has lots of pieces of compo missing. 

Gothic frames

These lovely Gothic frames have been at the workshop for a while and are very nearly finished, just a little more toning to do. One of them we have done nothing to, the other has been re-gilded by gilder extraordinaire Mark and then toned to match the example. Lots of step by step photos have been taken so we will get them on the blog someday soon.

A Louis XIV frame

This antique frame style is loosely known as a Barbizon frame, named after the French group of artists who often used variations of the style to frame their works. This particular frame does not have the classic Barbizon pattern, the corners and centres are a little to decorative, so it is probably better described as Louis XIII or XIV style.

The Barbizon is another revival frame, made popular in the 19th Century and inspired by the much earlier Louis XIII and XIV frame patterns. These Barbizon styles are quite common in many museums and art galleries, often framing many different 19th Century artists and modern masters. This frame is just having some minor repairs.

Selection of work this week

Here we have a sample of some jobs finished this week, from the top: a flamingo painting by Jeremy Houghton in a white box frame, a cross stitch which is float mounted and framed in a veneer frame, and thirdly a watercolour by Karen Grant which is in a green frame.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Floating yachts

This painting is framed in a gesso bevel slip, which is floating on painted MDF, a spacer sets it all back from the Artglass anti-reflective glazing, and the outer frame is water gilded and painted.

Finishing the latest big order

Before and after

A queue of frames

These frames have been gilded and are waiting patiently to be painted and finished.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Frame sites

My wife has recently been to Germany, knowing how much I love frames she took some photos of this picture framers she saw in Munich called Ehmer Rahmen. They have a beautiful shop and workshop where they make gilded frames, restore antique frames, and provide framing services. 

Ehmer Rahmen - Master craftsmanship since 1903

Sunday, 12 June 2011

17th Century Louis XIII frame

Frames don't get much sexier or more exciting than this little beauty! A Louis XIII frame, carved from oak with acanthus corners and leaf running pattern and water gilded. The Louis XIII style of frames dates to 1630 and 1660, although they would have continued to be made through the 18th Century alongside the newly emerging styles, and later as carved reproductions and composition revivals in the 19th Century. 

The style is simply known as a convex (or ovolo) profile. The influence for these frames was from Baroque mouldings used on ceilings and doors, which could be traced back to styles in Italy, no doubt the influence of Marie de' Medici who was Louis XIII's mother.

This is one of my favourite styles of antique frame, the carving is often really crisp and highly detailed and almost seems to roll and flow round the frame. The later more ornate and extravagant styles are beautiful in their own way, but the simple restrained, but still decorative look of these earlier frames is far superior to my eyes. 
This is the sort of frame that needs to be hung without any painting, and that is what I will do with this frame, it is going on my wall at home!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Antique swept frame

Here we have a typically flamboyant Louis XV inspired swept frame. It is a British Victorian revival style of the original, much earlier Louis XV period frames. I call this a double swept, because the back edge also has sweeping lines, the ornament is made from composition.

It has an original label: 'Bourlet & Sons', who are a very well known, long established English frame making company. The Bourlet company also dealt with art shipping and packing, so the label may not be a makers label. I don't know the meaning of 'Worcester 1901' on the label.

Frame sites

The next frame site on my list is Gregor's Framing, in The Netherlands. A great website with some excellent photos (love the map on the contact page), with lots of frame examples, step by step information, and some fascinating videos. The whole website is a real joy to look round, to get a glimpse of really amazing workmanship.

Gregor's Framing

Friday, 10 June 2011

American frame

This is a lovely American frame made by Newcomb Macklin Co. It has distinct lemon coloured gilding, grey half rounded panels, with moulded corner ornaments, it was probably made around the mid 20th Century.

I really like all frames of this style. This was one of my stock frames, some regular clients bought it from me this week to frame a 1930's painting. I now have the unenjoyable task of cutting the frame down, it is currently 20" x 24" and I need to make it 18" x 24". This is not something I like doing, firstly because I don't like chopping up old frames, and secondly if something goes wrong I am snookered, as it's not like working with new frames made from scratch.

Unusual compo frame

This rather unusual but quite nice looking antique frame has a very distinct ivy leaf pattern with outer twisted rope. 

Lots of frames...

We have a big order of gilded and painted frames on the go at the moment, here are a few of them at the gesso and bole stage of production. A few still need to be sanded and painted with bole, but most will be ready to gild on Monday, we have 25 to make in this order and they need to be finished by Wednesday 22nd June.

Frames for Jeremy Houghton

We have just finished some big frames for the artist Jeremy Houghton. Some have a water gilded inner edge and black gesso outer, and the others are gilded on the inside and outside with painted scoop and sides. The big carved frame in the photo above is in for some restoration work.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Frame sites

This is a French antique frame website, I like it because it is done in a blog style, with lots of examples and photos of different frame styles. They also have a sister site with antique mirrors.

The Antique Frames Gallery - La Galerie Des Cadres

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Louis XVI frame

This antique frame was made in Paris, it is a classic Louis XVI style frame which is suitable for framing antique prints, pastels, or watercolours. It is in good condition with original water gilding and just some minor losses to the gesso at the corners. It was probably made in the late 19th or early 20th Century. This is one of my growing stock of antique, old, and reproduction frames which can be used to period frame works brought to me by my customers.

Frame sites

A long term, ongoing project of mine has been compiling a page of links on my website to really useful and informative frame related websites. This project has been neglected and I have not updated it for ages. So I thought I would post links on the blog, every now and then, to frame websites which I think are great. I must have bookmarked over 200 frame sites, but I think it will be a while before I get these organised on my website.

Roberto Medica makes amazing carved Florentine Baroque frames in Arborea, on Sardinia. A great website with lots of photos, the 'Woodcarving' page has some step by step photos... Amazing!

Roberto Medica - carved Florentine Baroque frames

Friday, 3 June 2011

How not to make a frame

This framed painting was in a recent gallery exhibition, it has come to me to have the corners fixed, three of which have large gaping mitres. On looking at the back of the frame I was surprised to see that none of the corners had any wedges, nails, screws, biscuits, or fixings of any kind. Only glue had been used, so it is not surprising that the corners are coming apart so badly. I can only hope that the framer who made this frame forgot the fixings in just this frame, and not in all the other frames in the exhibition. Even with the frame looking like this, the painting (about 16" x 20") sold for £2100

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Rebate rout out

This great antique frame has been brought in to have the rebate made a little larger. It has some nice details, like the offset corners, crisply carved flutes, and some nice compo ornament, not to mention the huge corner ornaments. 

I don't really know how you would describe this style of frame, it has elements of Neoclassical, RĂ©gence, Palladian, Empire, and Louis XVI frame styles. So your guess is as good as mine, let's just call it French.