Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Stock finishes

These are a few of the gilded frames finished so far this week.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Washline and swept

A more traditional frame and mount choice for a watercolour, is a reproduction English style swept frame and washline mount.

Gilt and paint

I finished this frame today, a gilded and painted cove for a large watercolour. I have lots of frames to gild next week...

Antique watercolour frames

A nice pair of antique watercolour frames that had various bits missing and also needed some re-gilding. I didn't take very good before photos, but you can just about see the areas being replaced, and the other two photos are the finished work.

A Framer's Collection

There is an exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery of a large collection of paintings that belonged to Mattei Radev, who was a leading framer from London. Details below are taken from the Falmouth Art Gallery website:

Mattei Radev (1927 - 2009) was a refugee who fled Bulgaria as a stowaway on a cargo ship in 1950. He became one of the leading London picture framers, mixing with artists, dealers and art critics.
In 1991, Radev was left a significant art collection by his friend Eardley Knollys, who had, in turn, inherited a large part of it from Eddie Sackville West, 5th Lord Sackville some years earlier.
The collection reflects each man's differing tastes: Knollys for French artists and Sackville-West for modern British pieces. Although Radev added works by Robert Medley, Duncan Grant and John Piper, his greatest gift was to keep the collection intact.
This exhibition brings together some of the finest artists of the 20th century including Georges Braque, Maurice Denis, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Ivon Hitchen, Jean Millet, Amedeo Modigliani, Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Roderic O'Conor, Pablo Picasso, Lucien Pissaro, Graham Sutherland, Keith Vaughan and Alfred Wallis.

If you can't get to Falmouth to see this exhibition, the Radev Collection website is excellent and shows the paintings including frames! A great resource for 20th Century frames.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Frame extension

This gold fluted frame is being used to frame some 3D objects, which means an extension needs to be added to accommodate the extra depth required. There are a number of ways of doing this, you could use a bevelled box made from mountboard, another moulding 'cap' could be put round the side, but in this case I am using a plain wooden moulding to create the extra space.

This wooden backing frame could be finished in various ways; it could be stained a wood colour or painted in a traditional colour like yellow ochre (often used on the sides of antique frames), it could be given a gilt finish to match the sides of the frame, or you could just finish the sides of the wooden backing frame with brown paper tape. All of these finishes look neat and tidy, and the sides of the frame are rarely viewed directly or face on.

In this case I have simply taken four pieces of the same moulding as the frame, and just cut the side off the moulding, so that I have a flat section 1/8" thick, which is then glued to the sides of the backing extension.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Silk strips

The rebate of this frame have been lined with silk which is then soaked with glue, this is to reinforce the rebate. As mentioned in an early post the excessive routering has made the rebate weak.

Team Sky

Two antique frames

Two lovely antique carved frames, Louis XIII inside, and Louis XIV on the outside.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Vermeer's paintings in their frames

The Milkmaid by Jan Vermeer 1632-1675
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Image courtesy of
I have just found this good website showing 36 of Vermeer's paintings in their frames, well except for one which only shows the frame as the painting was stolen. It's a big website with lots of information. I like 'Woman holding a balance' the most, both frame and picture, on Vermeer's I prefer the veneered frames and ebonized ripple frames to the more ornate gilded styles.
Always nice to see painting with frame, instead of just a cropped image as is the unfortunate standard way of showing paintings in many books, magazines, and on  most websites.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Rebate and repairs continued...

This is the second Louis XIV frame that I am working on at the moment, it is in much worse condition than the previous one. All four splines were broken through and the corners are in a bad way. Like the other one I also had to extend the rebate by quite a lot (3cm each side, 1cm top and bottom), but because the inner part of the frame and especially the sanded panel section of the moulding are very thin, I did the rebate extending on the table saw instead of with the router. The saw allowed me to remove small amounts at a time and is not quite as heavy-handed as the router.
The extending of the rebate on this frame is not ideal as there is now only about 1/8 or less of timber underneath the sanded panel, which makes the whole rebate very weak and care will need to be taken when fitting the painting. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Repairs and extending rebate

This antique carved Louis XIV frame was damaged and broken at all four corners, which were loose and wobbly. First I put glue and filler in the gaps in the mitres, then I put some plywood pieces on the corners with glue and screws to brace and secure them. Next the rebate needed extending to fit the painting that it will surround, quite an amount of wood was removed from the long sides which meant the corner splines were cut through, so the plywood braces are even more necessary. The frame appears to be carved from walnut (or oak??), next I will work on the front, fixing and restoring the corners and centres.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Gilding repairs

The next stage of the repairs to this 20th Century water gilded frame, bole has been painted on, next the bole will be polished and then gilded.

Louis XIV repairs

These two carved Louis XIV corner and centre frames were shipped to me to have some minor repairs done on just one of them, but they were not very well packed and got pretty badly damaged during the journey over from France. The top frame is not so bad, but the lower frame is trashed and will need some work.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Slip rebate size

The rebate or rabbet width on frames and slips can often be a little narrow when framing paintings on canvas. The edges of the canvas can sometimes be patchy or untidy and have areas that need to be covered, and often the canvas will be unsquare which means even if the frame rebate is made large enough the canvas may not fit. 

The linen slip frame above needed the rebate width increasing to accommodate the painting, so it could be fitted into an antique frame. This was done after the lengths were cut to size, but before the slip was joined together. I did this using a table saw, just a few passes and it is done. 

Cut downs

I sold these two 20th Century frames this week and they have been cut down to fit smaller paintings. The top frame was made much smaller, it had some damage at most corners so it was easiest just to cut out the existing mitre joints and then cut the four lengths to size and then join as normal. With the second frame I left two corners joined and then made the cuts at two diagonally opposite corners, and then just had to join these back together.

Repairs to Watts

This Watts frame is from a few posts back, it has had some repairs done, and been generally tidied up. A nice detail that you don't see on all Watts frames is the inner husk ornament has centre flowers which the husks radiate away from, instead of just going round the same way. It would be nice if the outer ornament had mitre leaves, although the ornament does match up very well without them. Finally butt joints on the oak veneer flat are another good detail although this one has normal mitres.