A Brief History of Painting Frames


Below are links to short articles in the series “A Brief History of Painting Frames” by John O’Keefe Jr. Each article includes reference images and diagrams to help you identify frame design features unique to each historical period. New links will be activated as additional articles and relevant materials are added. Please enjoy.

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  1. Renaissance Frames
  2. Mannerist Frames
  3. Baroque Louis XIII Frames
  4. Baroque Louis XIV Frames
  5. Baroque Spanish Frames
  6. Baroque Regence Frames
  7. Rococo Louis XV Frames
  8. Neoclassical Louis XVI Frames
  9. Neoclassical Directoire Frames
  10. Neoclassical Empire Frames
  11. Neoclassical 2nd Empire Frames
  12. Barbizon School Frames
  13. Federal Frames
  14. Hudson River School Frames
  15. Victorian Frames
  16. Arts and Crafts Frames
  17. Art Nouveau Frames
  18. Contemporary Frames

(Articles are hosted on the website www.paintingframesplus.com.)

Home Recording Studio Update (2021)

Studio Update – 21 Years Later!

After 21 years, I have a home recording studio update! In 2020 I decided to overhaul and rebuild my home recording studio completely. The overhaul includes new furniture, upgraded outboard gear, instrument upgrades, improved soundproofing, and proper room acoustic treatments for a better room frequency response. I am modernizing everything as my budget allows. The studio design will focus on editing and mixing first and recording second.

Studio Update – The Details

Acoustic treatments will achieve an optimal room frequency response. Improved soundproofing will keep our neighbors happier when the studio is in use. The visual aesthetics will change to make a more comfortable and relaxing environment. There will be no more blinding white walls that the studio had originally. The new look will have a fantastic, darker, psychedelic vibe with controllable LED lighting. I will write in detail about the studio rebuild in future posts.

Studio Update – Outboard Gear Upgrades

Home Recording Studio Update, Upgraded Outboard Gear Racks (2021)
Upgraded Custom-Built Gear Racks (Early 2021):
Power Supply: 2x Furman PL-PLUS DMC Power Supplies.
Rolling Mixer Stand (far right): Mackie 1402 VLS.
Upgraded Custom-Built Gear Racks (Late 2021):
Left Rack: Two Fully Independent Monitoring Systems (see the following picture).
Right Rack: Outboard Gear (1x TC Electronics M-ONE XL Dual Channel Effects Signal Processor, 2x Behringer Composer MDX2100, 2x Behringer Composer Pro-XL MDX 2600, 1x Art TPII XL Tube Preamp System 2 (modded), 1x Art Pro MPA Tube Preamp (modded), 1x Art Pro VLA Voctrol/Tube Leveling Amp (modded)) for Vocals, Drums, and other instruments.
Home Recording Studio Update, Monitoring Station - No Room Acoustic Treatments at this point
Editing, Mixing, and Monitoring Station:
Acoustic Room Treatment: No acoustic room treatments at this point.
DAC/ADC Converter: Lexicon Omega (USB/Instrument/XLR) 24/48 Digital to Analog and Analog to Digital Converter.
A/B Controlling Unit: RCF MC-1 Monitor Controller
Cabling: Mogami Gold Studio XLR Cables, Van Damme Blue Series Studio Speaker Wire, Seismic Audio Speakers, 24K Gold Banana Connectors.
Monitor Chain 1: 1x DOD R430 Dual-Channel Graphic Equalizer, 1x Yamaha P2201 Power Amp, 2x Yamaha NS-10M Studio Monitors, 1x Yamaha NS-W2 Powered Subwoofer (Designed Specifically for NS-10’s Crossover Range).
Monitor Chain 2: 1x Ashly GQX-3102 Dual-Channel 31-Band Graphic Equalizer, 1x Ashly XR1001 Dual-Channel Crossover, 1x Samson Servo 550 Power Amp, 2x Tannoy PBM 6.5 Studio Monitors, 2x Tannoy TS10 Powered Subwoofer.

Studio Update – Computer and Software Upgrades

Home Recording Studio Project, Computer and Software Upgrades
Computer and Software Upgrades: Samsung R780 Laptop/Workstation with Intel i3 Processor, 8GB Memory and 750GB Internal HDD, External Wall Mounted Monitor, Samplitude Pro X4 Multi-Track Recording Software Suite with a virtual arsenal of Plugins, Dell 530 Workstation (Backup Server) with dual Xeon 3.4 Ghz processors and 2TB of Storage on RAID-1 Configuration, All Devices Hardwired for 1GB Ethernet over Cat.6 Cables.

Studio Update – Instrument Upgrades

Drum Kit Improvements: Full Rack, Floating Mounts, Full Microphone Coverage, Two Snares, Sturdy Overhead Rolling Stands.
7-Piece 1989 Pearl Export Series Drum Kit Improvements: Half-Rack, Floating Mounts, Two Pearl Snares, Full Microphone Coverage (1x D-112, 10x SM57, 3x SM58, 2x C-1000 (modded)), Sturdy Overhead Rolling Stands.
Guitar Rig Upgrades (2021): Marshall JCM 900 50w High-Gain Dual Reverb Amp (early version – modded), Fryette Power Station Integrated Reactance Amplifier, 2x Sonic 4×12 Cabinets with ??? Speakers.

For my entire life, I owned and played only one guitar, a 1985, all-black, Ibanez Roadstar II, 6-string electric. A while back, I restored all the original electronics after I shifted away from my Heavy Metal phase. However, as part of my studio rebuild, I purchased a second guitar, a 2009 Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro. Check it out.

Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro 2009, 6 String Electric Guitar
2009 Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro, 6-String Electric Guitar.

Home Recording Studio Update – Future Planned Upgrades

Here are some additional upgrades I have specified for rebuilding but still need to purchase.

  • Herman Miller Mirra 2 Chair – Tilt Limiter and Seat Angle, Butterfly Back
  • Lynx Studio Technology: Aurora 16 with LT-USB (AD/DA 24/196 16 channel Converter)
  • Gallien-Krueger: CX410 Bass Cabinets (2x)
  • Gallien-Krueger: MB Fusion (500W)
  • Gallien-Krueger: 1001RB Power Amp
  • 7-string electric guitar… still researching.
  • Good quality vocal microphone… still researching.
  • GIK Acoustics: 242 Acoustic Panels for 1st-order reflection control.
  • Bass traps won’t be selected until a room frequency analysis has been completed, and the “trouble” frequencies are identified. Traps will be custom build to target those specific “trouble” frequencies.
  • Build a small isolated vocal recording area.

Rococo Reproduction Painting by Unknown Artist

Purchased by my mother for about $15.00 at a local thrift shop, this sizeable Rococo reproduction painting was an excellent find. She asked me to frame it for her, prompting me to dig into the picture’s origins.

Rococo Reproduction Painting

The painting has no artist’s signature, and there are no identifiable markings on the stretcher or back. It is old, and there are visible signs of wear on the canvas and painted surface. There is a lot of dirt buildup and yellowing of the varnish. The canvas is very dry and brittle. There is cracking of the painted medium in certain areas, and the painting could use a restoration.

Rococo reproduction painting by unknown artist.
Reproduction Painting by Unknown Artist.
Rococo reproduction painting by unknown artist. (Detail)
Reproduction Painting by Unknown Artist. (Detail)

Narrow strips of wood and two fitted cross-members hold painted canvas in place. The frame is not outstanding in any way and is probably not original to the painting.

Rococo reproduction painting rear view.
Rococo Reproduction Painting Rear View.
Rococo reproduction painting rear view. (Detail)
Rococo Reproduction Painting Rear View. (Detail)

The Composition

The composition of this painting is derived from elements of two famous paintings by Rococo artist Francois Boucher. (1703-1770) During a general search of the 17th through 19th-century painting styles, I stumbled upon a painting by Boucher, The Bird Cage (1763), that partially matched the reproduction painting. Further research into Boucher’s works led me to a second painting, The Shepherd’s Gift (1740), that matched another portion of the reproduction painting. You can imagine my excitement.

Reference Painting 1:

The Shepherd’s Gift (The Nest) draws from the fountain, large tree, and foliage to the left of the water fountain.

Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Shepherd's Gift (The Nest) (1740)
Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Shepherd’s Gift (The Nest) (1740)

Reference Painting 2:

The Bird Cage draws from the man and woman. The artist might have referenced black-and-white images of the original paintings and thus the variation in clothing colors on the reproduction, but that’s just a guess.

Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Bird Cage (1763)
Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Bird Cage (1763)

In conclusion, researching this Rococo reproduction painting was a fun project.

Victorian Frame Still Life

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

Victorian Frame Still Life

Victorian Frame Still Life.

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.

A notable design feature is the beaded sight edge. I am still determining what design is on the top edge, and I have found no reference in my many frame books.

In conclusion, this is a unique old frame. During my years of frame hunting throughout Connecticut’s many antique shops, this is the first time I have seen a frame designed like this.

We can see a Victorian portrait frame in the same shop.

Victorian Frame Portrait

We stopped at one of our favorite antique shop collectives, Antiques on the Farmington, located in Collinsville, Connecticut. We found this wonderful Victorian frame portrait with many excellent features and an engaging photographic image 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 notable Victorian features are the oval sight and center frieze with a leopard pattern.

Victorian frame portrait - showing original finish luster and reflections.
Victorian frame portrait – showing original finish luster and reflections.

You often see today in antique frames 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 the paint’s thickness, you will also notice a loss of detail in some design elements and compo ornamentation. (I’m 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 visible signs of touch-up and repair work. The frame is in good condition and retains much of its original finish, and I also like that it has a nice patina.

We can see a Victorian frame with still life in the same shop.

You can see a Victorian frame with still life that we found in the same shop.