The frame is interesting on a number of levels. The walking stick presumably belonged to the sitter and is here attached as an artefact of remembrance. The historic source of the style is the Italian cassetta frame, but this frame is perhaps more closely related to the Watts frame: the profile at the inner edge is the one used by Thallon on the Watts frame for James Quinn’s Botticelli copy, but without the composition ornament. The Waite frame is also found on George Coates’ travelling scholarship picture from 1896 (a copy of van Dyck’s Portrait of Jean Grusset Richardot and Son [67.2]); Meyer Altson’s travelling scholarship picture from 1902 (a copy of van Dyck’s A man and child) and Bernard Hall’s painting Sleep, from c. 1906 (959-3). These frames can all safely be attributed to Thallon. The leading-edge fluted section appears on the frame for Hubert von Herkomer’s, Queen Victoria, dated 1891 and purchased in 1892. The Herkomer frame (attributed to the frame maker Dolman) might be seen as the point of departure for the Thallon frames. The canvas carries the stencil of W. & G. Dean, noting their activity as frame makers.2
1 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 This is the same as the canvas of Norman Macgeorge’s Mother of pearl (258-2), the framing of which has nevertheless been attributed to Thallon. Frames by W. & G. Dean appear on Tom Roberts’ Portrait of a young girl (A19-1972); Taylor Ghee‘s Donelly Creek, Healesville (13.2), and Sybil Craig‘s Victorian constable (A3-1990).
The basic chassis is of mitred timber with a built-up edge and bracing of the corners. The leading edge is machined from dowel and creates the impression of a fluted classical column. The flat is veneered and gilded with false gold leaf on a red bole, which has been allowed to form a drying crack pattern. The slip is water gilded with gold leaf, the rest of the frame is false gold leaf with a green oxidised patina. A walking stick is attached across the lower member via a recess in the name-plate, with screws from the reverse.
The frame is largely in original condition. The slip has been painted with gold coloured paint on three sides.