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This frame is reminiscent of the styles used by James Abott McNeill Whistler. It carries the look of a ‘Gallery’ frame and might be compared to the ‘Whistlerian’ model used by J. S. MacDonald in the uniform framing of the NGV’s Australian painting collection in the middle of the twentieth century. Holmes was Director of the National Portrait Gallery (London) from 1909 and Director of the National Gallery (London) 1916–28.2 Chenil & Co, identified here on the label as frame makers, are also noted as artist colourmen. A number of canvases in the collection carry their stencil.3 A fragment of another label on this frame appears to be from the Rowley Gallery which leaves some ambiguity about the source of the frame.
2 Holmes was consultant to the Felton adviser Randall Davies from 1930 to 1934, and instrumental in the purchase of Rembrandt’s Self-portrait, subsequently re-attributed to an anonymous painter working in Rembrandt’s studio.
3 Their stencil appears on the reverse of the canvas of William Orpen’s The Chinese shawl, ( 1284-3); William Nicholson’s The black pansy, 1910, (2048-3); George Lambert’s Mrs A. P. Reed, 1917, (2913-4); George Lambert’s A sergeant of the Light Horse, 1920 (1182-3) and James Quinn’s John Tweed, sculptor, (327-4).
The frame is assembled from simple profile sections of solid oak and gilded with gold leaf directly to the wood. The corners are mitred and nailed.
Good original condition throughout.