Updated August 19, 2010
The workman ought always to be thinking and
the thinker to be working.” John Ruskin
Below is my own booklist for those interested in learning
more about framing and frame history in general as well in
relation to the Arts and Crafts Movement. More resources may be found
on our Links page.
An excellent list of books on frames and framing, all for sale online,
is at Picture
Framing Magazine's bookstore.
For more on the Arts and Crafts Movement (books in print, anyway), go to the American
Bungalow Bookstore. I also strongly recommend
the following online texts:
Frames in the Arts and Crafts Period
Stanley B. Burns, M.D. Forgotten
Marriage: The Painted Tintype & the Decorative Frame, 1860-1910.
Self-published; New York, 1995. 220 pgs. Illustrated mostly in
color. "Celebrates the discovery
of the last stage of folk portraiture as an American cultural force
the painted tintype", and does so, interestingly, in conjunction with
the extraordinary and various frames of the period. Not much on frames
one would directly associate with the Arts and Crafts Movement, but
certainly helps a great deal in understanding art and framing for the
typical American household of the period.
Erika Jaeger-Smith, Carved, Incised, Gilded and Burnished
(The Bucks County Framemaking Tradition). James A. Michener
Art Museum, 2000. Bucks County, Pennsylvania framemakers,
such as Hermann Dudley Murphy and Charles Prendergast played
an important role in the Arts and Crafts Movement. 64-page full-color
catalog featuring prime examples of their work. Includes biographies
of the frame-makers.
Harvey Jones, Mathews: Masterpieces of the California Decorative
Style. Gibbs M. Smith; Layton, Utah; 1985. 120 pgs. Illustrated
in color and b&w. The definitive survey of the prolific San Francisco husband
& wife team of Arthur and Lucia Mathews. Painters as well as designers
of furnishings and interiors, the frames they designed for their own pictures
are unique and extraordinary.
Eva Mendgen, In Perfect Harmony, Picture & Frame
1850-1920. Van Gogh Museum/Kunstforum Wien, 1995. 278 pgs. Illustrated mostly in
color. Does not include American frames, except for James McNeill Whistler,
but is excellent on English especially Pre-Raphaelite and
continental European artist-designed frames.
H. Morell, Victorian Wooden Molding and Frame Designs:
The 1910 Morell Catalog. Dover, New York, 1991. 194 pgs. Illustrated
Eli Wilner, Antique American Frames: Identification and
Price Guide. Avon, New York, 1995. 228 pgs. Illustrated in b&w.
Eli Wilner, The Art of the Frame: American Frames of the
Arts and Crafts Period. Self-published; New York, 1988. 32 pgs. Illustrated
Eli Wilner, ed., The Gilded Edge. Chronicle Books,
San Francisco, 2000. 204 pgs. Illustrated mostly in color. Beautifully
illustrated, this is "the first book to offer an in-depth look at the
exquisite antique frames made in America over the last two centuries."
With essays mostly by art dealers and curators, emphasis is on museum
framing, and especially as the title suggests gilt frames.
Other Books On Frames
William Adair, The Frame In America,
1700-1900. AIA Foundation, Washington, DC, 1983. Illustrated in b&w.
W.H. Bailey, Defining Edges: A New Look at Picture Frames.
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002. Frame design and history from the point
of view of a New York design professor and leading framing consultant.
Claus Grimm, The Book of Picture Frames. Abaris Books.
344 pgs. Illustrated in b&w.
Henry Heydenryk, Jr. The Art and History of Frames.
Lyons & Burford, 1963. 120 pgs. Illustrated in b&w.
Henry Heydenryk, Jr. The Right Frame: A Consideration
of the Right and Wrong Methods of Framing Pictures. Lyons & Burford,
1964. 108 pgs. Illustrated in b&w. Despite some rather dated examples,
this thoughtful reflection on the aesthetic questions in designing
framing for particular works of art is strongly recommended for anyone
serious about the art of framing. A revised edition was published
in 2002 by Lyons Press without the consent or authorization of the
Heydenryk estate. The original version first published in 1964 is
superior and preferable.
Timothy Newbery, Frames and Framings. Ashmolean Museum of Oxford,
2002. Eighty pages; illustrated in color. Small but good pictures of
framed paintings from the Ashmolean Museum collection, with commentary.
John Payne, Framing the Nineteenth Century: Picture Frames 1837-1935. Peleus Press, Victoria, Australia, 2007. Illustrated in color. A survey of 55 frame-makers in the National Gallery of Victoria. Emphasis is on Australian (especially Melbourne) frame-makers, but also some in London, Paris and other European cities.
Jacob Simon, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons
and the Framing of Portraits in Britain. National Portrait Gallery,
London, 1996. 224 pgs. Illustrated in color and b&w. Excellent, and includes
much on Arts and Crafts Period especially, of course, the Pre-Raphaelites.
P.J.J. van Thiel & C.J. de Bruyn Kops, Framing
in the Golden Age: Picture & Frame in 17th-Century Holland.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 1995. 376 pgs. Illustrated in color and b&w.
The text is tedious, but this is nonetheless the definitive work
on northern European late-medieval/early renaissance frames that
appear to have been the inspiration for so many household frames
of the Arts & Crafts period.
Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts, Frameworks: Form Function
and Ornament in European Portrait Frames. Merrell Holberton, London,
1996. 480 pgs. Illustrated mostly in color.
Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts, A History of Picture Frames.
Merrell Holberton, London, 1996. 136 pgs. Illustrated in b&w. Literally
a bound dictionary entry on European frames.