National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift from the Estate of Marjorie L. Wilmot, 1975
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of the Joe White Bequest
The ornament on this frame is most likely composition, formed by patterned metal rollers and applied to a wooden chassis. The frame is constructed from pre-formed sections, cut to length. The breadth of the frame is decorated with a fine basket-weave pattern. The outer edge is worked with a leaf, scroll and flower motif. The surface is oil-gilded throughout and retains a brassy look. It seems likely that the frame also used a matt or a slip, which has been lost.
Good original condition throughout, with small losses to the edges of the ornament. It seems likely the frame used a gold matt, which has been lost.2
34.6 x 44.5 x 2.3 cm; sight 27.0 x 36.9 cm
The hard edge of the ornament and the brassy finish of this frame do not sit happily with contemporary taste; nevertheless, frames like this were common and were probably the stock in trade of many commercial framers. The date of the frame is uncertain, but it is likely to reflect a later re-framing of the watercolour. Stevens was used by Buvelot to frame a number of oil paintings, particularly in the 1870s. There are also accounts related to Stevens supplying frames to the NGV. See also the entry for Buvelot’s Coleraine and waterpool (3231-4). A frame by an unidentified maker, which shows the same finish on machine rolled ornament, can be found on W. C. Piguenit’s TheSnowy River, N.S.W. c. 1903 (1995.45). Though the watercolour and the frame are now separated they have been re-assembled digitally for this publication.
1 The address is lost from the label, though it could be 33 Elizabeth Street, which dates between 1894 and 1900.
Hilary Maddocks, ‘Picture Framemakers in Melbourne c. 1860–1930’ in vol. 1, Frames, Melbourne Journal of Technical Studies in Art, University of Melbourne Conservation Service, 1999.
2 A very similar frame is found on a Buvelot watercolour in a private collection. It uses a stippled, gold matt, with the watercolour mounted on the face, and two thin boards, pinned in place, as a backing. The mount and housing are original.