Artists on their frames
July 30 2013
Picture: The Frame Blog
If you've ever wondered what artists thought about frames, look no further than The Frame Blog, which has compiled letters like this, from Sir Thomas Lawrence (to his patron Mrs Benjamin Gott in 1828):
‘…let me beg to assure you that the comparative richness of the frames now made for them has been adopted with not the remotest view to their impression on the eye as mere splendid decoration. The pattern has been selected by me and its dimensions determined solely with a view to the advantage of the Pictures: a Frame is so much a part of the Picture, that almost invariably we a little change the effect or colour of some part the moment we place it in the frame, and the work as certainly is the better for it. The finest picture, seen without an appropriate Frame, loses a great advantage; as on the other hand it sustains material injury from a Frame injudiciously selected. The most unbecoming character of a frame is the very plain and very narrow… the next defection is the Frame with large obtrusive Ornaments in the centre, and the corners of it. A good frame (a merely safe one for the general effect of the picture) should be sufficiently broad and rich, but the ornament of that richness composed through-out of small parts, and usually it should be unburnished… The Frame is the clear Decanter not the brush…’
Lawrence's frames are indeed lovely, but our framer here at the gallery would like me to tell you, Sir Thomas, that they have become very fragile over time, and are a nightmare to fix. The little plaster details were never securely attached to the main part of the frame, and they have a habit of dropping off at the slightest touch. Tut tut.