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.

Transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI Rococo Frame Reproduction

Antiques on the Farmington in Collinsville, Connecticut had this fairly large Transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI Rococo frame reproduction. First of all this frame does not appear to be old, but it has the look and feel of the Rococo period. The Rococo “transitional” period lasted from c.1760 to c.1770, for those interested in knowing when in history you might have seen an original transition frame similar to this one.

Rococo Frame Reproduction

Transitional Louis XV - Louis XVI Rococo Frame Reproduction
Rococo Frame Reproduction

The most noteworthy Rococo-style features on this reproduction are the oval sight, elaborate corner foliate cartouches and swept sides and back. A nice contrast between the antiqued gold ornamentation and the faux wood finish on the inner portions of the frame are visible. In my experience however, I have not come across an authentic frame like this with different gold and wood areas.

On the subject of reproduction frames, I have found there are two kinds. The first kind will have features that can be linked directly back to the time-period in question. The second kind I would not call true reproductions. Some frame makers will take design elements from many periods and mash then together in such a way that you can’t tie it back to any specific historical period. For example, they might have Baroque Louis XIII features mixed with Neoclassical Louis XVI features. Now I don’t mean to imply that the latter can’t look good in their own right. I’m just saying there are true reproductions and “other” frames with old design elements incorporated into their designs. I believe this frame falls under the true reproduction kind.

Rococo frame reproduction - corner close-up showing faux wood finish.
Corner close-up showing faux wood finish.

In conclusion, I like this Transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI Rococo frame reproduction despite it being newer. A formal oil portrait would go nicely with this style of frame, with the mirror removed. (We also found a Neoclassical Louis XVI or Neoclassical Empire Frame.)