Antiques & Antiquing, Art, Inspiration

What a difference a frame makes

A frame can make or break a painting. It is there to encase, protect and enhance but in a very subtle way. If a frame is working your eye should be drawn immediately to the image. Its hard for me as a curator as bad frames really annoy me! When you get it right …ooh!

But here I am asking you to focus on the frames…..

I acquired this wonderful oil sketch of Wicklow by George Campbell RHA (1917-1979) from a bric -a-brac shop last month


but even though the frame was new it just wasn’t right for me. So I painted the outer part in off black by Farrow & ball – a lovely chalky finish.


much better!

Then there was this beautiful oil of Richmond Park by Lee Campbell in a simple wooden frame. (Just realised by pure coincidence she has the same surname as previous artist!)


The frame was fine, not detracting from the picture, but I wanted to pull out those lovely shadows Lee has painted so I re-framed it in a more substantial darker frame with hints of dulled gold around the edges enhancing the light dancing on the summer grasses – now I feel like I am there when I look in to the painting!


and lastly my painting of Coliemore Harbour by Brien Vahey. Here he is signing it for me


I have framed this in a heavy frame also – in keeping with the style of my sitting room. I had it framed in a gold frame but found the gold too yellow so last night I added a black/brown chalky wash on the curved part, this has calmed it down and again pulls out Brien’s shadowy strokes. am delighted with it and it hangs happily with the Lee Campbell beneath.


So sometimes you can improve a frame yourself with a tester tin of paint

Or you may not see it, but some of the artwork on you walls that you are not too enamoured with, may be just because the frame is not doing it’s job.

Part of my Home Curation Service entails home visits where I can help you rethink how old paintings are framed as well as how they are hung.

more info see:


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