Reference Library: Picture frame
A 'picture frame' is a surround added to a picture in order to contain it, make it easier to hang, enhance it and, in some cases, in order to protect it as well.
Picture frames are usually made of a rectangle of wood, although other materials are also used, including metal. A picture frame may be of any colour or texture, but gilding is common, especially on older frames. Some picture frames have elaborate mouldings on them, which may relate to the subject matter of the picture.
The picture frame may contain a pane of glass, in order to protect the picture. Glass may be treated with various coatings, the most common being UV filters. The most expensive glass, Denglass, has a coating which makes the glass non reflective and practically invisible.
Some pictures need to be held slightly away from the glass, notably pictures in charcoal, pastel or other media with a tendency to smudging: the frame helps to achieve this by containing a fillet, which comes between the frame and glass and the picture.
"L"-style frames are a simple variety that are constructed with a single L-shaped border of wood, with the bottom part of the L at the front of the frame to hold in the glass, object and backing, which are secured in from the back. In this type a frame, a framing mat should be used to distance the obect/picture from the glass, because condensation quickly accumulates inside any frame and causes damage to the picture.
"F"-style frames have an additional channel cut into them, which the glass is inserted into. This allows the picture to be framed without a mat and still have protection from condensation.
Other styles are clip frames, box frames and shadow boxes, among many others.
* [http://www.npg.org.uk/live/picframe.asp Art of the Picture Frame] Resources from the National Portrait Gallery.
* [http://www.arnoldwiggins.com/frame_articles.htm Arnold Wiggins & Co] Articles on picture frames from a London dealer
* [http://www.eliwilner.com/contents/antique_frames.cfm Eli Wilner & Company] Articles on picture frames from a New York dealer
*[http://www.marywebster.com/indexe.html Mary Webster] Examples of fine art frames from circa 1780 to the present day
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Picture frame".