Collection Online
In springtime
oil on canvas
104.5 × 78.0 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1977
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
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Collection of Frau Senator Berg, Freiburg; Berg Collection, Frankfurt-am-Main and Munich, before 1898; Lotter Collection, by 1898; collection of Frederich Eckstein, London, by 1902; (possibly by descent to) Ludwig Eckstein, London; collection of T. Hodson Esq., by 1975; included in a sale, Sotheby's, London, 19 May, 1976, no. 15 as Summer, property of T. Hodson Esq.; bought by Fischer Fine Arts (dealer), London, 1976; exhibited, Universe of Art V, Fischer Fine Arts , London, November 1976; from where purchased, on the advice of Dr Ursula Hoff, for the Felton Bequest, 1977.

As a young man, the Swiss-born Arnold Böcklin studied painting in Düsseldorf, and his early work was in the spirit of German Romanticism. As his art developed, Böcklin left behind the extremes of this style, yet there remained a fantastical element in much of his subject matter, thus linking his art to a broader European Symbolist stream. Many of his paintings are of medieval and mythological themes – depicted with a characteristically nineteenth-century naturalism, which Böcklin felt would make his work accessible.


This frame is almost certainly one designed by the artist.1 Böcklin is known to have had a specific interest in the frames on his pictures and to have provided designs for frame makers to build.2 The painting came to the collection in this frame. The maker is recorded on each side of the reverse with an ink stamp.3


1 See comments by Laurie Benson in 19th Century Painting and Sculpture, NGV, 2003, p. 63.

2 For a full account of Böcklin’s approach to framing his paintings the reader is referred to Eva Mendgen, ‘Patinated or Burnished, Picture and Frame in the work of Leuback and Böcklin’, in In Perfect Harmony, Van Gogh Museum, 1995.

3 The stamp transcribes as: KONRAD BARTH & COMP. MUNCHEN. Vergolderwaaren-Geschaft.

Konrad Barth & Comp. München

The frame is made from a combination of cast plaster and composition ornaments on a wooden chassis. The back frame is lap-joined at the corners; the working edge is formed by the addition of timber battens. The basic profile is likely to be simpler than the finished form of the frame suggests. The frieze ornament is unmarked by cracking, making it difficult to see the actual method used in construction. It is not carved timber, though it clearly is intended to appear as though it were. The undercut of the ornament toward the leading edge suggests the use of a complex method of casting or moulding. A similar comment can be made about the other frame in the collection by Barth. The cavetto at the sight edge is burnished gold on a red bole, as is the hollow at the base of the frieze ornament. The rest of the surface appears to be water gilded.


The frame is in good condition and appears to retain the original surface.

134.5 x 108.5 x 15.0 cm; sight 105.0 x 78.0 cm