Collection Online
Mother-of-pearl
Medium
oil on canvas
Measurements
(115.6 × 146.0 cm)
Place/s of Execution
Mordialloc, Melbourne, Victoria
Inscription
inscribed in black pencil l.l.: NORMAN MACGEORGE
Accession Number
258-2
Department
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1906
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display

Frame

Original, attributed to John Thallon, Melbourne

Though the frame no longer carries an identifying label, it is catalogued here as by John Thallon. The canvas support carries a stencil for the company W&G DEAN, artist colourmen, picture framers, which suggests an association between the artist and that company; indeed the frame brings to mind the simple construction and rugged aesthetic of the frame on Sybil Craig’s Victorian constable (A3-1990).

The construction is on the one hand more sound in the corner joint and veneer overlay than similar frames by Thallon, but on the other is less well finished in the veneering and the gilding. The frame leaves the impression of having been made by a wood worker rather than a frame maker. However, there are two entries for Macgeorge in Thallon’s ledger for 1902, with profile drawings that model the frame described here; there are a further two entries in 1903 with a similar form. This frame is a rare, intact example of this style on an Australian painting. Where other frames make more use of gilding, this one draws not only on the dark stained oak veneer but also articulates the working edge with a black painted strip.

Note

1 The frame was originally fitted to Macgeorge’s scholarship painting of 1899 and later re-used for Mother-of-pearl. (From Macgeorge’s reminiscences, an undated, unpublished manuscript in the Macgeorge papers, University of Melbourne Archives. Brought to the attention of the author by Dr. John Piggot.)

Framemaker
John Thallon Melbourne
Date
c.18991
Materials

The frame is built on a softwood chassis, with halving joints at the corners, mitred on the face and screwed together from the reverse. The flat is surfaced with oak veneer, mitred at the corners, lapped up to the cast ornament. An outer strip of black painted softwood is nailed to the edge of the flat to form the working edge. The inner border ornament (imbricated oak leaf torus) is cast plaster, with the veins of the leaves incised after casting rather than in relief from the mould. The ornament and flat at the sight edge are gilded with false gold leaf, leaving gaps in the hollows of the casting. The veneer is stained and appears to be lightly varnished. The veneer laps irregularly up to the edge of the torus.

Condition

Good condition throughout, with apparently original surfaces. The depth of colour on the oak veneer is open to question.

Dimensions
158.0 x 188.5 x 8.5 cm; sight 115.5 x 146.5