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Vincent Van Gogh is alleged to have said, “a picture without a frame is like a soul without a body” He wrote to his brother, Theo, a successful art dealer in his own right, “I can only finish my pictures when they are framed".
In the ancient classical world, mirrors were framed whilst pictures were mainly frescos painted directly on to walls, although some were framed by borders integral to the image Egyptian tomb paintings, as early as 2000 BC had decorative borders During the Medieval period in Europe artists painted directly on to wooden panels whose decorated edges developed into a formal, movable picture frame.
As the role of the artists developed into a more secular tradition, likewise did the art of frame making In Regency England, the use of pictures as domestic decoration filtered down to the bourgeoisie and below and prints, both as pure art and as political commentary and satire, were in great demand William Hogarth and James Gillray, amongst many others, made a good living selling their art as prints London saw the birth of a whole new industry of print publishing and selling, led by such as the redoubtable Ackerman Picture frame making became an offshoot of cabinet making, and simple, affordable wooden frames were developed to satisfy the new demand To this very day, the ‘Hogarth’ frame, which is a very dark wood with a simple gold line or two, is a staple of picture framers looking for a simple, traditional solution.
With the development of technology in the 20th and 21st centuries, affordable picture frames can be manufactured in almost any material: wood is no longer the only choice - metal and plastic can be used in an almost unlimited range of shapes and sizes of moulding.
Picture framing conferences are now held worldwide - the being “The Transforming Power of the Frame”, which was held in New York in September, 2008.