Collection Online

Watergate Bay, near Newquay, Cornwall

oil on canvas
38.5 × 76.1 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased by the Commissioners of Fine Arts for Victoria, 1864
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International


Watergate Bay, near Newquay, Cornwall 1864
William Spencer
Camden Town,

The frame uses what appears to be machine-rolled composition ornament on the inner scotia, applied to a wooden chassis. The leading-edge ornament is shaped over a half-round wooden section. The major frame section is mitred at the corners. The slip is water gilded on a red bole. The inner edge of the frame proper is burnished water gilding on a dark grey bole. The remainder of the surface appears to be oil gilded on a white base. The sections of composition are shallow in relief, particularly the leading edge, which is almost lost, perhaps suggesting the use of well worn moulds for the manufacture of these sections. The corners are worked with a stylized shield and scrolled ivy. The working edge, created by the addition of a wood batten to the reverse of the main profile section, is painted deep ochre.


The frame is in good condition but carries losses in the composition of the outer edge ornament. The size layers are deteriorated.

63.5 x 100.0 x 6.5 cm; sight 38.0 x 74.8 cm
More information
National Portrait Gallery
Watergate Bay, near Newquay, Cornwall 1864 John MOGFORD
Watergate Bay, near Newquay, Cornwall 1864 (colourman stamp)

The frame represents the style common to early acquisitions for the collection, this work having been acquired three years after the inception of the Gallery in 1861. As such, it must be regarded as a reference point for the Melbourne framers of the 1860s and is therefore interesting to compare with the work of Isaac Whitehead, W R Stevens and others. It can also be compared to the Agnew frame on Linnel‘s Wheat, 1860, acquired later, in 1888. The frame is contemporary with the painting but represents a form of wholesale production, making use of composition ornament produced through metal rollers. This frame carries the same scotia ornament and a similar leading edge to the frame on John Pettie’s, An arrest for witchcraft, 1866, which suggests that frame might also be by Spencer. Like many frames at the time, the strap-work pattern on the inner scotia is reminiscent of those reproduced in Owen Jones’ The Grammar of Ornament.