Black Parrot Art Room

The Frame Blog & Menpes

anthony springfordComment

It is amazing how little attention we normally pay to the framing of artworks. Before I started in the framing business I was only paying attention to what was happening on or in the picture, where the smallest incident was important but anything beyond the edges remained outside my consciousness (hidden in plain view if you like).

Now that I make them myself, I'm convinced that frames make a huge difference to our experience of art (especially paintings and drawings) but somehow we manage to edit them out of our experience until something happens to make us think about them. Then, suddenly, a whole world of inventiveness and artistry appears and it is hard to understand how it wasn't obvious before. When that happens The Frame Blog is a revelation, as is the wealth of amazing frames in art history, and the rarity of books or websites about them!

I was lucky to meet Lynn Roberts, the primary author of The Frame Blog, in Melbourne where she was a keynote speaker at the AICCM Frame: Concept, History and Conservation conference. Another presenter was John Payne (who has written a book on Framing the Nineteenth Century). Both are well known in frame history circles (which are very small circles!). As a small sample of this still obscure area of scholarship I have attached John Payne's article on one of Australia's great frame innovators, Mortimer Menpes. 

I love the combination below of prosaic (even banal) subject matter, Whistlerian composition and Japanese frame, without which the painting would be in danger of disappearing.