National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Joe White Bequest, Governor, 1981
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
This frame is a rare example of early Tasmanian frame making and is the earliest nineteenth-century frame in the collection by an identifiable frame maker. It is believed to be contemporary with the painting and can safely be dated to c. 1837. The form and decoration of the frame bring to mind the frames favoured by Thomas Lawrence.
1 Listed at this address before 1844 in Therese Mulford, Tasmanian Frame Makers 1830–1930: A Directory, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, 1997.
The attribution to Wilson rests on the direct similarity between the ornament on this frame and the frame on John Glover’s The Swilken Oak, Clarendon Homestead, National Trust of Australia (Tasmania), Bequest of A. H. Weedon, 1976, which carries the stencil of Wilson on the reverse. The attribution was advocated by John Millwood in correspondence with Terence Lane, who brought it to the attention of the author for inclusion in this publication. The strap-work ornament on the Mt Wellington frame is the same as that on the Swilken Oak frame, inverted.
2 The cleaning and restoration of the frame was carried out by Noel Turner in the Frames and Furniture Conservation studio of the NGV. The retrieval of this rare frame took more than seven hundred hours.
William Wilson St. John's Street, Launceston, Tasmania 1
The frame uses fine cast composition ornament on a softwood timber profile. The strap-work ornament sits on a base of cross-hatched netting. The back edge is formed by the addition of a batten. The cushion, which carries the strap-work pattern, finishes well inside the outer dimensions of the frame, giving a prominence to the back edge when the frame is viewed face on. The reverse of the frame has been altered in a previous restoration and detail of the construction of the rebate has been lost. It is likely that the painting was supported against blocks distributed around the back. The frame appears to have been both water and oil gilded.
The frame had been heavily over-painted and over-gilded. It was cleaned and restored in 2005–06.2 The original surface, though considerably worn, has been retained in the treatment, rather than re-gilded.