Start Dating old picture frames

Dating old picture frames

By 1977 the demand for 19th- and early 20th-century frames had escalated so dramatically at the gallery, that the dealers decided to set up a separate division to supply frames to collectors, museums and other clients for art works acquired both at the gallery and elsewhere.

Translating literally as ‘economical paste’, this was a version of what was called composition, or compo, in Britain (although it was made slightly differently, and gave a finer and softer effect).

Ornamental frames could be turned out much more quickly and cheaply than at any time in the past, and, with the consequent loss of carvers who also designed and created their own patterns, went the long tradition of invention and innovation.

The development comes after a 30-year period during which the austere look reigned in framing and thin strips of metal or wood, painted black, silver or gold, were all the rage.

Joan Miró once did a work specifically to frame with a flea market frame.

…and when the National Gallery was installed in its first location in London, many of its paintings had antique French frames, applied to them by earlier collectors, whilst others were framed to match in 19th century replicas, even when this was anachronistic or of the wrong nationality.

The frame along with its mounts protects and often makes the art look better.

Viewing at Conzen, Düsseldorf, Germany: 12th – 22nd November 2016.