Collection Online
'Summer has gone on swallows' wings'

'Summer has gone on swallows' wings'
(c. 1890)

oil on canvas
152.7 × 121.8 cm
inscribed in brown paint l.l.: Frank Walton (k Wa underlined)
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1892
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

Exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1891, no. 468; exhibited Anglo-Australian exhibition, Melbourne, 1892; from where purchased for the NGV, 1892.

Exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1891, no. 468; exhibited Anglo-Australian exhibition, Melbourne, 1892.

A mainstay of the Royal Academy, London, Frank Walton exhibited his work there for around fifty years. Summer has gone on swallow's wings was shown there in 1891 and the title is taken from the first line of the poem by Thomas Hood (1799– 1845) The departure of Summer. Hood's poetry gained fresh popularity in the 1870's when Michael Rossetti edited and published a volume of his poems.


Original, by James Bourlet, London

The label on the reverse identifies Bourlet as the frame maker.The frame is thought to be the first framing of the painting. Though simple in design, it is an elegant rendering of the basic Carlo Maratta form. The overall matte finish tells as much about the cost of the frame as it does about the aesthetic intention. In the mid- 1950s, Bourlet was considered for the re-framing of Tiepolo’s Banquet of Cleopatra. The work was given to F. A. Pollak despite being regarded as the more expensive of the two companies.2


1 The company, established in 1828, continues to trade to the present day. In 1899 it had acquired Smith and Uppard (see entries for this firm) who had previously taken over W. A. Smith. (Jacob Simon, The Art of the Picture Frame, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1996, p. 134.) In 1872 W. A. Smith had taken over Joseph Green, frame maker to Rosetti, Brown, Millais & Holman Hunt (Mitchell & Roberts, A History of European Picture Frames, p. 69.) Another frame by Bourlet is found on David Wynfield’s Death of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, 1871, (p.307.12-1), acquired in 1881 and another on Edwin Edwards' Southwold, Suffolk, c.1875, (241-2).

2 See correspondence in Tiepolo conservation files, NGV.

James Bourlet
17 Nassau Street, Middlesex Hospital, 12 & 13 Union Mews, London

The basic frame is machined from a large timber section. It carries a run of composition ornament along the back edge, a line of pea and sausage near the leading edge and a further line of centred and banded leaves toward the sight edge. The basic frame is mitred at the corners and re-enforced on the reverse with blocks. The face of the mitre in the inner cove is covered at each corner with a cast composition shell, which is nailed in place. The whole surface is water gilded.


Though a file note says the frame was restored in 1982, it appears to be in original condition.

188.0 x 157.0 x 10.5 cm; sight 151.0 x 121.0 cm
More Information
National Portrait Gallery


Location of stamp
Lower right quadrant of canvas reverse, also embossed stamp in centre of cross braces WINSOR & NEWTON/LONDON/38 RATHBONE PLACE
Ink stamps
More Information
National Portrait Gallery