38 Rue Lafitte,
The frame is built from a wooden profile cut from a single section of timber. The corners are mitred and fixed with tapering dovetail splines. The decorative work of the frame is made from composition but has a refined quality. Every surface has been articulated in some way. The small flat is textured with fine sand, the ogee panel is worked with scrolled strap work, which sits on a finely dimpled surface. The flat sections of the large corner and centre sections carry an incised diaper pattern. The surface appears to be gold leaf throughout. The leading edge is burnished, as are the outer scotia through to the working edge and the highlights on the decorative work.
The frame is in good original condition with small losses and repair to the large ornaments. The composition elements on the corners are cracked, following the mitres of the underlying wooden chassis.
- 53.3 x 62.0 x 8.5 cm; sight 31.3 x 39.4 cm
This small, handsome, somewhat out-of-scale frame is a fine example of a Louis XIV frame built with the manufacturing processes of the nineteenth century. Just as the original frames on which it is modelled aspire to the appearance of cast metal, this frame suppresses the nature of the materials used in the construction to create the illusion of a more expensive article. The finest Louis XIV frame in the collection is on Nicolas Poussin’s The Crossing of the Red Sea (1843-4). It is carved in oak and gilded to appear as solid metal. A less eloborate rendering is found on Nicolas de Largilliere’s Crown Prince Frederick Augustus of Saxony (1819-5). Both frames provide reference points for the strengths and shortcomings of the Cézare Dutocq frame. A paper label centre top reverse identifies the framemaker.1
1 Though now damaged, the label previously transcribed as: Cézare Dutocq, Dorure-ENCADREMENT, MIROITERIE, 38, Rue Lafitte, Paris.