Collection Online

Chestnut grove, Valley of the Tessin, Italy
(c. 1875)

oil on canvas
100.7 × 154.6 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1889
Gallery location
Not on display


Chestnut grove, Valley of the Tessin, Italy (c. 1875)
Albert Suckow
Kurfürsten-Strasse 38,
Berlin W.

The frame appears to be built on a solid wooden profile, using high-relief, large-scale plaster decorative work. The torus of the leading edge is oak and acorn, centred on all sides. The outer cove carries a frieze based around acanthus leaves, which again is formed in high relief. The surface is consistent and appears to be gold leaf on a black bole. It is difficult to distinguish edges of leaves and the nature of the material used. The surface is finished to a high lustre but not burnished. There is an obvious toning layer on the surface and the effect creates the appearance of aged bronze.


The surface coating is discoloured, leaving some ambiguity about the intended appearance as well as the materials that are used. There are losses and damage in the projecting ornamental work, particularly the corners of the torus, a reflection on the brittle nature of the plaster ornament. They have been repaired digitally for this publication.

145.0 x 199.0 x 11.0 cm; sight 98.5 x 153.0 cm
Chestnut grove, Valley of the Tessin, Italy (c. 1875) Carl LUDWIG
Chestnut grove, Valley of the Tessin, Italy (c. 1875) (colourman)

The frames by German makers in the collection are characterized by the use of very crisp ornament and highly finished surfaces. In this case the impact of the frame is determined as much by the surface finish as by the bold forms of the decorative work. We tend to read the frame as cast bronze rather than cast gold. It also makes use of a reverse profile to project the picture plane forward in the frame, with the pattern work tapering toward the back edge.1 The frame can be reasonably assumed to be the original framing of the painting.


1 A similar approach can be seen in the Argellies frame on Alston’s The Golden Age (6-2).