National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of the Countess of Stradbroke through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program, 2012
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
17th Century & Flemish Paintings Gallery Level 2, NGV International
Unknown - 17th century
Oak, softwood, gold leaf
The portrait of Sir John Rous, 1st Baronet of Henham Hall by Peter Lely came into the collection with this frame which carries the label of E.F. Watson frame makers and painting restorers in London (1830-1877). Considerable debate about the origin of the frame followed. It is noted in the diary notes for insurance of the collection in 1987 as “Sunderland carved gilt frame 48 ¾ x 40 ”.
From the front the frame has the essential form of a Sunderland (Auricular) frame from the mid seventeenth century, the detailing of the surface is nevertheless greater than we would expect at the time. The corner joints (square faced butt joints, mitred at the sight edge) and the joinery of the back frame (through mortise, pegged) are consistent with seventeenth century construction. The carved front frame appears to be oak. The rails on the reverse are softwood.
It is unlikely a nineteenth century frame maker would construct the corners and the reverse of the frame with such attention to detail. It is more likely the frame has been resurfaced and given extra incised decorative work by Edward Facon Watson in the late nineteenth century.
Frames with a very similar form appear on several paintings by Lely. The nearest visual references for the NGV frame are found on; the portrait of the 1st Earl of Essex and his wife Elizabeth, by Peter Lely, in the National Portrait Gallery London; Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, by Peter Lely also in the National Portrait Gallery London and Lely’s portrait of the Countess of Nottingham in the collection of the Huntington Library.
The painting was cleaned and restored in 2013/14.