Blended Corner Frames


PFG, Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Nov 19, 2002
United Kingdom, West Sussex Coast. (Bottom centre)
...... In UK is what you call Closed Corner frames in The States. Frames that are finished after joining.

I have known about this UK Company for a long time, but have only looked closely recently. Closed corner frames and real gold leaf are not as big here as they are there, I asked on a UK Framers' forum for other sources, did not get one reply.

Anyway, I have bought 20 chevrons from Frinton Galleries, to test the water and am very impressed. I will soon order a few frames from them for my own stuff (i.e. for sale in the shop) - props.

How do you rate these mouldings?
Hi Paul,

Sorry, I sort of forgot about that one! I asked the same question twice it seems.

Got no answer to that one! But I did ask what do we call "closed corner frames" here.

Frinton call them "blended corners" is that the term you use?

It's pretty hard to read those pictures and Paul's are even more so. Consequently, any evaluation is a risky job. I'm going to say the obvious only.
Frinton's frames are all finished in metal leaf. Commercial value finishes. References to historical periods are by no means guaranteeing that those frames represent accurate antique picture frame reproductions. Large variety of profiles and finishes though which makes me think that those frames/moldings must be machined (as opposed to hand made). Shapes and finishes reminding of more clement and appealing times. Wish I was living in that era
Paul is right in that not many such frame manufacturers had survived that era.

Are those frames made entirely of wood? Anyway, overall quality seams to be much better than what China and South of the Border manufacturers sell in the American market.
It's pretty hard to read those pictures and Paul's are even more so
If you drill down through the categories, you do eventually get to a larger picture of each frame which is easier to assess. (Unless you're using a Mac which confuses my website I'm afraid)

Sorry, Paul, I meant no disrespect. John asked for opinions on Frinton and I paid attention to that site precisely which I browsed thoroughly.
From my first fugitive visit to your site it appears to me that your frames are superior to Frinton's. Hope John will take my advice and go visit your site before becoming addicted to Frinton.
Anyway, it looks like I was the only one to give his opinion on Frinton (and even Sudbury Picture Framing).
Was it any useful or satisfying to you, John? What was the purpose of your asking for opinions if you don't acknowledge/challange them and let your thread sink into oblivion?
John is from overseas - with the time change he may not have read all the posts yet...........
I agree with Cornel on this one. The Frinton don't seem to be a high quality item, from the pictures I viewed. On the other hand Sudbury Picture Framing looks kwite splendid. Nice job, they look like some great frames.


Sorry, you asked questions I could not answer until last night. Thank you for looking, your questions were very useful and I will put the same questions to Frinton next week.

Suppose I could/should have said "dunno but I'll find out" though.

Anyway, you posted midday Thursday (here) don't have a computer at work. Read it Thurs pm, day off Friday. Very very busy yesterday.

Therefore have not been able to put any questions to Frinton, or even examine the samples much further. A lot of the frames it seems, are finished in gold waxes and paints, not even metal leaf unless this is washes OVER metal leaf - the ornamentations are not carved, they are separate -it seems.

They do do some carved mouldings and they do do some real gold leaf, but only in 2 or 3 plain profiles, this is only apparent in their brochure.

They are very probably capable of doing completely handmade and finished closed corner frames in real gold to special order.

I will actually speak to them in the week and find out more.

Maybe the quality is reflected in the price?

A 20 x 30" 2 1/2" reeded frame with a liner would cost me about $120.

Still, they ARE 'closed corner' and it seems this is the best available to our trade, no-one else advertises such a product in our trade mags. It must reflect the demand from the trade here.

Paul is not a trade supplier and from what I have been able to glean so far he would have difficulty selling to UK framers.

I don't even know if I can sell Frinton's, let alone a far better quality, and obviously more expensive product like yours or his.

Regardless - a range like this - if taken on, would become my 'high end' one up from Larson Juhl surely?

Quality will indeed be reflected in the price. At that price above you most likely will get a 20" x 30" metal leafed cast resin frame, which is ok, because you are in business to make a profit, not just buy, show and never sell frames of higher quality than your clientele need and can afford.
This is my frustration Cornell,

This is an extremely affluent area, I'm sure I can sell it, but I can't find it!

I know it exists - there are others like Paul Hardy. But it doesn't exist to the trade.

Perhaps I should learn the skills, I'd love to afford the time. But then I would need separate workshops.

Best to have tried and failed ................
Hm, what can I say? It is indeed frustrating. Be aware that high end framing is a somewhat different business. Samples are a must, they cost money and costumers must expect to find such items in one's place. In my opinion, from what you've posted in here, your shop is not designed with attracting high end framing costumers in mind. But you have more locations and, if needed, you may turn one of them into a magnet for mid to high end type of costumers.

If I am not too nosy, may I ask you why do you think Paul Hardy would have a difficult time selling to UK framers? After all he is from UK himself, speaks same business language and shares same business culture with all of you British. If he wasn't sure he could answer your calls he wouldn't have shown up and openly offered his frame making abilities.
Originally posted by Whynot:

If I am not too nosy, may I ask you why do you think Paul Hardy would have a difficult time selling to UK framers? After all he is from UK himself, speaks same business language and shares same business culture with all of you British. If he wasn't sure he could answer your calls he wouldn't have shown up and openly offered his frame making abilities.
Simply because of the lack, no, the non-existence of anything like what you, or he does on show at our premier trade shows and in our leading trade magazines.

He asked for thoughts on selling to the trade on the UK framers' forum; I don't think he got a reply, not on the forum anyway, don't know about in private.

The general consensus over here is that framing costs at least double in The States. I know from questions of my own and from Grumble polls, that this is not true when compared to the same material costs. It's more a case of you having far more high-end mouldings which we cannot compare TO.

My shop is indeed designed to attract the high end - the high end, that is, as I have perceived it up until now. I'm not just talking about the bit that goes around the package and stops the glass from falling out! I'm talking about customers with valuable stuff that know it will be treated right - not cosmetics.

Diversification is something we are good at and we can readily adapt and upgrade our higher end, both in simple availablity and presentation of that availability.

I detailed my intentions to find this sort of quality in our newsletter (distribution now 3000) and have had a lot of interest.

We have homes here that were built before America was, stuffed full of valuable paintings framed in TAT! Not all of course!

I can get quality from the likes of Paul Hardy, but why should he sell to me at less than he would to his retail customers? I'd want my retail price to be the same as his, so he would have to give me a 50% discount; why should he? I'm not interested in less than 100% mark-up and I'm not promising big volume. I want someone that deals just with the trade, that someone don't exist!

I don't want a supplier that is also a competitor!
My understanding of the American frame market is that some very good high end manufacturers are/were also retailers hence their dual price list: wholesale and retail. Offering 50% off their retail price to the trade is the rule for such a manufacturer who is/became a retailer as well.
I can't speak for Paul, but I'd speculate that he does not simply sell his frames at wholesale price and call it retail. He too knows what market is like and what it can bear.
You just said that American market in fact is not more expensive but richer that UK's. Do you know how much hand made and hand finished frames by Munn or APF price is? Munn was arguably the best high end antique picture frame reproductions maker in the American mrket. Well, a simple Florentine 3 1/4" in width, sgrafio panel by Munn was priced, back in 1994, at $130/ft. Keep in mind that gold price doubled during the last two yrs alone and mainly that you pay today just $120 for an ornated 20" x 30" 2 1/2" wide, (probably) cast resin ready made frame by Frinton. Closed corner frames is not necessarily a quality brand because, for instance, any ready made plastic (cast resin) frame is, technically speaking, closed cornered as well.
Frinton mouldings are all wood, I wouldn't touch plastic frames with a bargepole!

Just the ornamentation SEEMS separate - 'lquid wood' or 'Pasta' as we call it here. But not all, some are carved.

The amount of actual mouldings they carry is not that large either, the selection of 9000 they refer to includes many of the same profiles but with 250-odd different finishes,
I like frames made of wood. But there are many manufacturers who would sell less expensive, finely finished cast resin frames with just a minimal wood backing. Under a different business name than theirs, Munn too was selling such frames. APF is another such example (to name just the good ones) but they are not being "vocal" about it. Plastic molding with a slim wooden back is how inexpensive frames/moldings are being produced. A 20" x 30" frame for $120 is quite inexpensive by the US market standards which, again, according to your rating, is not more expensive than UK's, but more sophisticated. This is why I had speculated on the making of Frinton's frames. More to it, frankly, I would not be able to compete with Frinton's pricing despite my frames being made in Romania where labor cost is considerably much less than what it is in the UK...
The most expensive frame on their price list is a 3 3/4" profile 40 x 30", full (real) gold leaf, no ornamentation - $775 approx.

They have 50 gold leaf colour tones to choose from.
I believe both Frinton and we use the same basic technique i.e. gessoed wooden subframes, with applied composition ornament, then pierced or carved if the design calls for it. The main differences between us would lie in the range of patterns available, the amount of re-carving, punching and scribing of the gesso and the time taken in gilding and finishing.

Paul Hardy
Well, I was partially wrong, Frinton's price for that simple gold leafed frame doesn't look much different than mine. But when it comes to metal leafed frames (taht is everything the same except for metal leaf instead of genuine gold leaf finish), a metal leafed frame ends up being just 15-25% less than its genuine gold leafed version. And then again, I can't repress from stressing that that 20" x 30" ready made metal leafed frame for $120 is waaaay too inexpensive to be the real thing. Anyway, it's not my busines and I'm glad I am not in business to sell 20 x 30 inch frames for only $120 myself.

The American market's got a sizeable niche for
good quality frames. Tell us more about your frames (beat your drums; it wouldn't be like hiden ad because you'd answer my question
)) Are they hand made? What are they made of? What it takes to make your frames? How many stiles? What price range are they? If I forgot to ask some please fill in for me ;)
Cornell, as I said the finishes are not leafed, they are washes and waxes, it seems.

Just spotted some small print - extra 15% for metal leaf.

Thanks for the invitation to show what we do. We make hand-made frames, mainly for the London art dealer market, although we also make for individuals who want good quality, historically accurate frames.

We start with a stock moulding, usually machined to our specifications made from obeche. We sometimes use pine, but it's prone to twist and difficult to source nowadays without knots and splits that need digging out and filling.

The stock moulding will then be altered, either by adding rails or flats or by planing extra coves with our wooden hand planes.

Moulding is than chopped and joined to size, with a slip if required. Then its gessoed with a first thin coat, then subsequent thicker coats. We have hot tanks going constantly for this purpose

We press out ornamentation from moulds using composition and then apply them to the frame. This is a mainly 19th century technique supposedly introduced into Britain by the Adam brothers from Italy in the last quarter of the 18th c.

Swept frames are then carved to give serpentine shaped sides, all frames need some re-carving or scribing. Then it's into the gilding shop to be coloured up with bole, water gilded and then distressed and finished.

It's difficult to estimate the number of different designs we have - there are 430 on my pricing database, but that doesn't include the one-off designs that aren't repeated. Cheapest frame we make is a simple coloured 2.5" hollow with gilded top rail and sight edge at around £160, a 3.5" swept frame like the one below is £725 for a 20" x 24". We don't carry any stock sizes, everything is made to order and we turn an order around in 5 weeks usually.

Some of our patterns are illustrated below. I hope this rather long-winded post is of some interest.

Paul Hardy


Louis XIV convex with panel 2.38"


Louis XV with straight sides and semi-centres

Italian Box with sgraffito panel 3"

English corners & centres frame 4"

Louis XV swept frame with hatched panel 3.5"
Very impressive. Hope grumblers and lurkers alike would find this new source to be useful to some of their future projects.
Very good quality pictures indeed. They give testimony to your frames' quality better than words can do.
Are you looking for closed corner suppliers in the US too, or is the price point of the Frinton frames what draws attention?
I don't think so. He trusts us and wanted to be given our rating on Frinton. More over, I guess that he already knows that Chinese (and perhaps Mexicans) can beat Frinton's price with their ugly resinous renditions of what they believe to be Louis XVth look. Why asking? Do you know of American closed corner frames suppliers able to manufacture and ship frames to West Sussex, UK for less money than Frinton does?
Oopps... I must've been really tired b/c I didn't get that he was writing from the UK..!!! Next time, (as if I deserve a "next time"), I 'll pay better attention before adding my two cents..
( I was thinking I was missing out on good pricing in the UK for closed corners!!)
*sheepish grin*
I think you saw the "Sudbury", thought "Suds - bury" and thought he was just another framer from Micro-Brew Central Capital Portland....

Ok, so it sounded good. You're on your own Sara, I tried.
Thanks for getting my back Baer...
I like the "suds" micro-brew idea, especially since it BLAZING Hot in my shop today, and they're digging up the street right outside and I can't open my door.