Victorian Frame Still Life

Antiques on the Farmington, located in Collinsville, Connecticut was home to this beautiful Victorian frame still life. Looking for good quality antique frames is always a highlight for me when I go antiquing with my wife, Jennifer. Finding very old carved frames is rare to find in a typical shop, but there are usually many 19th and 20th century frames to be seen. Loss of compo ornamentation is a typical problem in frames from this time period.

Victorian Frame Still Life

Victorian Frame Still Life.

I believe the finish is original, however it needs a serious cleaning. Notice the closed corners – the compo ornamentation lines up nicely, with intent and symmetry. Also, the compo is in relatively good condition, with only a few losses here and there. (…look for the white spots where the compo has flaked off.)

Victorian Frame Still Life - corner close-up.

Some of the design features are the beaded sight edge and ???? back edge. I am not sure what design is on the top edge, and I have found no reference to it in my many frame books.

In conclusion, this is a unique old frame. During my many years of frame hunting throughout Connecticut’s many antique shops I have never come across a frame designed like this one.

You can see another frame that we found in the same shop here.

Victorian Frame Portrait

We stopped at one of our favorite antique shop collectives, Antiques on the Farmington, located in Collinsville, Connecticut. We found this very beautiful Victorian frame portrait that has many nice features and an interesting photographic portrait that is probably original to the frame. (I often wonder about the people depicted in these types of finds. Who were they and what were they like? What did they do for a living and what was their family like?)

Victorian Frame Portrait.

Victorian frame portrait.

Victorian frame portrait.

Some of the notable Victorian features are the oval sight and center frieze with leopard pattern.

Victorian frame portrait - showing original finish luster and reflections.

Victorian frame portrait – showing original finish luster and reflections.

Something that you often see today in antique frames is that they have been over-painted with bronze or copper paint, or even worse… Shabby Chic. (gag!) Using bronze or copper paint was a common practice to cover up damaged areas of the finish rather than have the frames professionally repaired. One positive indicator that the original finish has been over-painted is the lack of luster and reflection that metallic-leaf (or true gold-leaf) often gives off, resulting in an overall flat appearance across the frame. Depending on how thick the paint was applied you will also notice a loss of detail in some of the design elements and compo ornamentation. (I’m personally not a fan of over-painted antique frames or Shabby Chic… but each to his own.)

Victorian frame portrait - corner close-up showing minor repair work.

Victorian frame portrait – corner close-up showing minor repair work.

In conclusion, this is a nice looking Victorian frame despite some of the visible signs of touch-up and repair work. The frame seems to be in good condition and still retains much of its original finish. I also like that it has a nice patina.

You can see a second frame that we found in the same shop here.