Frames and workshop

We preserve, conserve and construct frames in our collection

Corner of a frame

Replica of an existing frame for Linton's Temples of Paestum (date not known)

Frames are both functional items and decorative objects with artistic value. They are often redecorated, modified or replaced, and vulnerable to damage during handling and transport.

Our duties

  • Develop a new practice in remedial treatments of cleaning and reconstruction
  • Undertake research in technical and decorative history
  • Understand the authenticity of each frame
  • Construct accurate replica frames
  • Grow our archive of frame images to inform decisions about design

challenges we face

Alterations to the front or back of a frame can result in the loss of basic information and make it difficult to ascertain its age or provenance. Close examination, supported by scientific analysis of the materials and techniques used in the frame’s construction, can help us identify any changes that have taken place.

Our collection houses paintings and frames from many sources in different contexts. Picture frames still fulfil their original practical function, but are also often modified to accommodate glazing and backboards. When a frame is known not to be original an historical connection between frame and painting, or group of paintings, is frequently considered significant enough to preclude reframing.