Picture frames entered the realm of fine art collectibles in the s. Old frames previously tossed in the dump heap are now being fought over by dealers from trendy Manhattan art galleries. Vintage frames date from the s into the dating antique frames century. Identifying and dating antique frames is an art form in itself. Check on the back of the antique frame for a maker's mark and date.
Many artist-craftsman who made early frames just like violin makers signed and dated their frames. Also look for labels by dating antique frames frame companies. This will give you the company name and location. The dating antique frames may still be in existence or you may find the time period they were in operation in old city directories. Look at the artwork that is in the frame such as a vintage print. Hold the magnifying glass over the bottom right and left areas of the print and look carefully for a date.
Sometimes the date will be below the artist's name and will only be indicated by the last two digits, such as "92" for If you locate a date for the print, this will give a general idea of the era and decade in which the frame was made. Study the period look of the frame. Antique picture frames followed the making of furniture. Estimate the dating antique frames look of your frame to establish a general date. Look at the materials the antique frame is constructed of to establish a date.
As picture framing evolved, new techniques for embellishing and creating frames developed. An example of this was the introduction of heavy molded plaster gilded frames during the Victorian era. However, the material is not the only factor in dating gilded frames. Finer versions of gilded frames appear in Europe much earlier. Use Eli Wilner's price guide to picture frames for frame comparison and date.
If you think you have a valuable frame as seen in his book, contact a high-end frame dealer or gallery owner for advice on confirming the date in the event it may be worth a great deal of money. Watch out for fakes. Picture frames, like other collectible antiques, have become victims of mass reproductions. Robert Gray has been writing full time since His first photography book took seven years to research and publish.
He specializes in writing on photography and the arts. He's written for Photography Magazine, Large Format Camera Magazine and many online art and photography websites and blogs. Warning Watch out for fakes. How to Identify Antique Eyeglasses. How to Identify Antique Lamps. How to Identify Antique Dressers. How to Frame Antique Maps. How to Identify Antique Cabinets. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd.
How to Date Antique Frames
The market in fine period frames is inextricably entwined with the art market. How to Identify Antique Eyeglasses. Frame Size 16" x 20". The Frame Gift Shop For sale pieces , page 6d. Figure 2 As the century progressed painting moved toward landscape, the celebration of what was seen as divinity expressed through the untamed American wilderness. Camelia Silver Leaf Picture Frame.