The history of frames?


Cliff Wilson

I'm interested in increasing my knowledge of frame styles, periods, and types. I find it is much easier to sell people a "nicer" frame if I can give some background on it, like where and when the original design was used, etc.

Can anyone suggest a book I could get to read?

In the beginning there was a church. And into that church there came a picture painted on a panel of wood. And the word was that the picture was not of itself grand enough for the magnificence of that church, which was as a temple to the Lord. And so it was that a carver of wood and a gilder of such wood were summoned to that church where they together bordered that image until it was great.
Then the King of that place where the church did exist heard of that picture and its setting in the carved and golden wood and was sorely agrieved. He issued a summons throughout his lands that all the pictures in his palaces should be bordered by such magnificence as the one in the place of the Lord (But not quite of such magnificence as in the place of the Lord).

I need the book, chapter and verse!
I just got to work that into the liturgy at church.
Before the end of January please.

Close Alan. And may even be pretty much true.

The closest I could find to the "true" origin would be in the 11th C, and yea, the father of the church did send an edict that the "word" shall be spread.

And the workers of the church did taketh up a likeness that was of three panels. Of these dipictions were representation of the three stages of the crists life: Birth, life, crusifiction and reserection.

And yea, verily the pictures became travel worn and ungodly. Yea, verily they had many finger prints upon their faces with were a weeee bit to worldly.

And So the panels were remade such as that the center was the same size and shape of the two that were winged to open and close to protect the main. And around the perimiter, there was crafted a place that was granted to be safe for fingerprints. And this was good, for it became know as the frame.

In the Rykes Museum there are about 5 or 6 of these very same "Trip-dyks". Wherever a priest or monk set one up and opened the wings, became "sacred ground", and therefore a place of worship.

Basically the "Church" became the sole customer for art and frame untill Louis XIII assended the throne. But that was all in another thread.

That is also why most of the frames from the 12th-15th are basically veriations on a "Tabernacel" frame.
Cliff, PPFA didn't know squat about these books, you may be able to get them though PFM....

or you can order through B&N, or Amazon.

The History of European PFs. Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts ISBN 185894-036-2

Italian Renaissance Frames ISBN 0-8109-3455-8

The Art of the Picture Frame by Jacob Simon ISBN 1-85514-171-X

Frameworks by Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts 1-85894-037-0

The Bookd of Picture Frames by Clause Grimm 0-913870-92-7

Framing in the Golden Age 90-6630-278-X

The Guilded Edge by Eli Wilner 0-8118-2070-X

But don't short yourself: learn about one of the hottest influence periods in our history:

In Perfect Harmony-Picture=Frame 1850-1920 0-295-97478-8

And not to be remiss, but the Abe Munn Catalog.... I have no idea what it will look like now, but it used to be a wonderful reference book. I had it on my nightstand. Pleasent dreams . . . untill you wake up at 3am because your were making a frame..... :D
My wife doesn't mind when that happens as long as the hammering and sawing doesn't wake her up.
Baer, What a fantastic list!
I would like to add "Prijst de Lijst" ISBN 90 12 04579 7
This is a catalogue of the 1984 exhibition of Dutch picture framing styles held at the RIJKS MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM.(I have never been able to read the book as it is written in the Dutch language). I am hoping for an English translation!
However,the photographs are fantastic,as are the profile drawings, often showing how some of the mouldings were contructed from several parts.The earliest example shown was from 1588.
Alan, just glanced at what I wrote. Some of these pompus ***es should be horse whipped when they write at odd hours of the night. You're a gentleman for ignoring my dark side. PPFA has a nice library, they just didn't have any idea what I was talking about.

That catalog sounds a whole lot like one that was shown me last year in Amsterdam at my finals. One of my proctors had been instermental in it's conception and research. I guess I know what I have to be ordering from Amazon next week.

Thanks Alan. I'll be raising a bit of the Glen in Vegas to your contribution.
Cliff and Alan,

To go one step further with Dermot's excellent link, go to the site and click on "Research". You'll get THIS which appears helpful and, based on the excerpts from the book, goes w-a-y back on the origin of frames.
The book I use a lot is Antique American Frames by Eli Wilner.
I guess none of you have ever looked at Ancient Egyptian paintings, and wall carvings. They have frames around then. ...And then you have Ancient Chinese Drawings. Frames there too. The Church was not the first to decide that to make something look important, it needs to be held together in a frame. :D

(See what happens when you have snow on the ground, and your daughter's school is out? Yikes! I guess I better go and make her do some homework.) :D
The best "History of Picture Frames" that I have run across is in Vivian Kistler's Picture Framing Vol. 1. She covers periods and styles with illustrations through the present trends (as of 2001).
Well, a fellow Grumbler dropped by with 8 books for me to borrow. I am currently reading The Guilded Edge by Eli Wilner and will progress through the others.

Thanks all!

And a special thanks to josephforthill!