Stylistically, there is a curious relationship between the crisp gothic revival pattern on the inner scotia and the scrolled leaf and flower corners, though this can be noted in other frames of the time. Stevens was, presumably, in competition with Whitehead, both for the work offered by the NGV (there are records of the Gallery purchasing frames from Stevens) and the framing of the important artists of the 1870s. A number of Buvelot’s paintings appear in frames by Stevens, while Whitehead frames are often associated with paintings by Eugéne von Guérard.
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.
W. R. Stevens 10 Bourke St., Melbourne
The frame is made with composition ornaments on a wooden chassis. The basic profile is mitred at the corners and re-enforced with triangles of wood on the reverse. The profile appears to be assembled from a length of pre-formed moulding, cut to fit, with the corners covered with composition ornaments made by the frame maker and let in to the leading edge of the profile. The slip is water gilded on red bole with a matte size. The bead is burnished on a dark grey bole, as are the highlights of the corner ornaments. The running patterns in composition appear to be gilded without a bole layer, perhaps only an oil size, direct to the composition. The outer scotia is water gilded on a lemon-coloured bole. The frieze on the scotia was most likely formed by running composition through patterned metal rollers.
Some repairs to the corner elements, otherwise in good original condition.