Artist/s name

oil on canvas
94.2 x 140.6 cm
Accession Number
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1888
Gallery Location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International


Work in frame
Frame maker
Thos. Agnew & Sons
Exchange Street,

Frame date
Frame dimensions
131.8 x 177.5 x 12.0 cm
Frame dim. (sight)
92.6 x 138.8 cm
Frame construction
The frame is built from composition decoration on a softwood chassis. The mitred corners are re-enforced with wooden blocks on the reverse. The whole frame is gilded with gold leaf, mostly on an oil base, with water gilded highlights on the cross-banding.
Frame condition
The frame has been re-gessoed and re-gilded in a previous restoration. The original articulation of the surface and the crisp detail of the ornament have been partly obscured in the process.
It is not clear whether this frame is the first framing of the painting. It is in the manner of the frames made in Melbourne in the 1860s by Isaac Whitehead and others.1 It may have been made at the time of purchase; frames often were. The style is consistent with the hybrid forms that track through the second half of the nineteenth century, with diverse decorative elements and motifs. The pattern on the inner scotia is reminiscent of strapwork patterns published by Owen Jones in The Grammar of Ornament in 1856. These patterns are a recurring feature of frames of this type through the 1860s and 1870s. Frames like this illustrate the work produced, in considerable numbers and of varying quality, from pattern books.2 The label transcribes: THOs. AGNEW & SONS Carvers, Gilders, PRINTSELLERS & PUBLISHERS to the Queen, Prince Albert & THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE REPOSITORY OF ARTS Exchange Str.t MANCHESTER.3
Frame notes
  1. See entries for Whitehead and Stevens in particular.
  2. See for example the 1910 catalogue of the London frame maker H. Morell, reproduced by Dover, New York, 1991. A selection of frame profiles from Ashworth, Kirk & Co Ltd., Nottingham are found in Frameworks, by Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts, Merrell Holberton, London, 1996,  p.351.
  3. References to Agnew, frame makers, are not plentiful. A brief history of the company is offered on the website of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. Frames by Thomas Agnew have been noted on works by: Frederic, Lord Leighton; Thomas Faed; John Everet Millias; William Frith; Briton Riviere and Walter Severn, dating between 1873 and 1895 (from information supplied by Lynn Roberts). A note to Agnew is provided in Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts, A History of European Picture Frames, Merrell Holberton, London, 1996, p70. Another frame by Thomas Agnew is found on Godfrey Knellers’, Sir Thomas Aston (1900-4).

Frame Profile
Frame Label

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