National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of G. R. Nash, 1870
Not on display
W. R. Stevens & Co. 10 Bourke St., Melbourne
The frame is made from a wooden chassis with composition ornaments. The wooden profile is mitred at the corners and re-enforced with triangles of wood on the reverse. The frieze ornament appears to be have been pressed in sections and then applied to the wood, unlike the Stevens frame for Buvelot’s Mt. Macedon, where the profile is ornamented before having been cut to length. The gilding varies from burnished on a grey bole on the taenia and the sloping edges either side of the leading edge, to water gilding on the slip and probably oil gilding on the pressed ornaments. The large corner ornaments are pressed as one piece and run through to overlap the slip.
There are losses to the ornaments and the leading edge is over-painted. The over-painting obscures the original articulation of surface finish in the gilding.
103.0 x 90.8 x 10.5 cm; sight 75.0 x 62.5 cm
The frame is almost certainly the one itemized in the accounts for 7 February, 1871.1 The corner ornaments of this frame are identical to those on the frame on Henry Short’s Fish, fruit, and flowers, (p.301.4-1) by the same maker, and were used as patterns for the restoration of that frame. Though the label is now lost it transcribed as: W.R. STEVENS & CO. Carvers, Gilders, &c. LOOKING-GLASS, and PICTURE FRAME MAKERS, 10 BOURKE STREET, MELBOURNE, Next Royal Arcade.
1 PROV 5866 in the NGV’s Register of Accounts 1870–72, unit 7, p. 98. Paid W. Stevens. February 7, 1871, for gilt frame, Head (illeg … ). Three other frames are itemised.
I am grateful to Liana Fraser for this reference (from research carried out in various archives for the Conservation Department in 1995).