This highly refined, essentially classical revival, frame uses an unusually deep scotia and linear relief (reeding) along the leading edge. The frame is almost certainly a copy of the frame on J. W. Waterhouse’s Ulysses and the sirens, 1891 (p.396.3-1), which entered the collection in 1891, the year before the Bunny. The Whitehead frame has reduced the depth of the scotia and uses a shallower angle to the reeded leading edge. It is a somewhat simplified version of the Waterhouse frame.2 The frame was removed from Sea idyll and sold in a job lot in 1941. It was recovered from the monastery of The Benedictine Community of New Norcia Inc in Western Australia in 1998 and refitted to the painting.
1 At this date Isaac Whitehead’s son ran the business. (See Anna Maria Espinoza, ‘A Framemaker of Colonial Melbourne: Isaac Whitehead c. 1819–1881’, in vol. 1, Frames, Melbourne Journal of Technical Studies in Art, University of Melbourne Conservation Service, 1999. pp. 33–48.)
2 The maker of the Waterhouse frame has not been identified.
The frame uses water gilded gold leaf on a softwood chassis. The major profile has been cut from a solid section laminated from two pieces of wood. A simple timber moulding has been added at the working edge. A shallow scotia section, cut from a single piece of wood, provides the first step toward the slip.
The frame is in good original condition with most of the original surface intact. The deteriorated matte glue size has attracted dirt. The slip has been reconstructed from photographic evidence.