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The slip is almost as wide as the ornamented section of the frame. For contrast see the Thallon frames on the watercolours of John Mather (p.431.2-1)(15-2)(2003.475), which have a narrower slip, more associated with oil paintings. The register of accounts of the NGV lists thirteen payments to A. Fletcher between 17 June 1875 and 8 October 1884, for the supply of frames and the re-gilding of others.2 It remains a surprise that only two works retain labels by this frame maker. Sadly, the accounts do not itemise the paintings for which frames were made. The significant contribution of this company to the presentation of the collection remains hidden. Though this frame is not in good condition, it remains a rare example of the work of the company.3
1 Alexander Fletcher is listed at various addresses from 1872 to 1893. He appears in Collins Street East in 1877 and at 29 Collins St. in 1880 and 1882. (Hilary Maddocks, ‘Picture Framemakers in Melbourne c. 1860–1930’ in vol. 1, Frames, Melbourne Journal of Technical Studies in Art, University of Melbourne Conservation Service, 1999).
2 PROV 5866 NGV’s ‘Register of accounts’ 1873–85 Unit 2. I am grateful to Liana Fraser for this reference (from research carried out in various archives for the Conservation Department in 1995).
3 For a review of the diverse activities of Fletcher see Caroline Jordan, ‘Fletcher’s of Collins Street’ Melbourne’s leading nineteenth-century art dealer, Alexander Fletcher, The La Trobe Journal, State Library of Victoria Foundation, 2005.
The frame is made from moulded composition ornaments on a wood chassis. The slightly convex inner frieze appears to be machine-rolled composition ornament. Ivy leaves are used to cover the mitres. The laurel leading-edge border is not centred, the leaves all point in the one direction, suggesting the frame is made from pre-formed sections cut to length. The main profile sections are joined with mitres, which are braced on the reverse.
Losses in the composition ornament along the leading edge have been reconstructed digitally for this publication. The whole frame, including the slip, has been over-painted with gold coloured paint.