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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back

Four to Remember
(How to Identify a Picture Frame)

by Brian Dedora
Pacific Conservators

THERE IS A REASON that customers in a picture framing store become agitated or confused when confronted with the “wall of a thousand samples” – lack of knowledge. This article will attempt to shed some light on the subject.




Carlo Maratta

First to be considered when selecting a frame is whether you are framing a decorative item or a piece of fine art. The leeway for “play” and experimentation is greater with a decorative piece because you have decided that that is its purpose and, yes, it can match the sofa or drapes as the piece is part of an overall design. Fine art, however, demands framing for itself, preferably within the context of the period in which it was created.

For the past 25 years there has been a movement to retain period frames with period art. This pertains to art whether it was produced in 1540 or 1940, as both reflect the design and sensibility of the period. The basic designs which constitute the framing repertoire were developed during the Italian Renaissance (14th century to about 1580).

The first frame design was the PLATE, which was simply four pieces of flat wood cut and joined to make a frame. Later, decorations were added in the corners of the frame, usually rosettes or a pattern of incised lines.

The next development was the CASSETTA, which employed the “plate” as a panel with the addition of a “lip” and a “cap” moulding. Ornamentation was then distributed over the panel, lip, cap or over the entire frame surface.

The BOLECTION, or reverse/receding frame was the third shape developed. This moulding completely covered the join between the frame and panel. As with the preceeding designs it was later decorated.

The last important frame shape was the profile known as the CARLO MARATTA, or “scoop” frame.

Despite the variations in ornamental decoration, these four shapes constitute the basis of framing design from the Renaissance to the present day. Either compressed or widened, with or without decoration, gilded or painted, if you take a moment to look at the frame surrounding works of art you will be able to identify these shapes. You can become familiar with the profiles so that you are no longer confused by the “wall of a thousand samples” because you will know that there are really only four.

For more information visit the FACTS (Fine Art Care and Treatment Standards) website at www.artfacts.org.

Last issue: Conserving a Theatre's Atmospheric Murals
Next issue: Choosing a Period Frame

 Fri, Feb 1, 2008