The frame is made from composition ornament on a wooden chassis. The chassis has mitred corners, which are braced on the reverse. The flutes of the inner scotia are carved in the wood, displaying a slight, but interesting, variation in width and depth. The frame carries a mixture of gilding, burnished on a red bole on the fillet, water gilding on the slip, matte gilding on grey brown over red bole on the leading edge. The leading edge carries a torus of imbricated laurel and berry, banded at the corners and centres. The inner scotia corners are covered by acanthus leaves, the back edge carries a ribbon and stick ornament.
Good condition with worn, but nevertheless original, surfaces.
- 162.0 x 223.0 x 11.5 cm; sight 122.0 x 182.5 cm
- More information
- National Portrait Gallery
The frame maker is identified in an Agent-General’s account for the NGV, dated 5/9/1877, which serves also to date the frame.1 The frame is safely regarded as the first framing of the painting, though how much it relates to the preference of the artist remains unknown. Given the date it entered the collection –1878 – and the beginning of John Thallon’s business in the same year, it is worth noting this frame as a reference for the similarly fluted classical revival frames common to Thallon in his first years as a frame maker. It is a fine example of the classical revival frame, with carved fluting (in contrast to some frames of this type where the fluting has been formed in a mould) and retaining original finishes. The variations in the gilded surfaces, which here remain intact, are commonly lost from frames through mishandled restorations, specifically resurfacing with gold coloured paint or re-gilding with heavy false gold.
1 VPRS file 5845/1, p. 14. I am indebted to the research of Annette Dixon, former Curator of European Art, National Gallery of Victoria, who first sourced this reference.