The extraordinary changes in picture framing in London in the 1620s and 1630s, from simple designs to a range of elaborately carved and gilt frames, came about as a result of the collecting activities of King Charles I and members of his court. Some pictures collected abroad came with elaborate frames, notably from Italy, while most were framed here by craftsmen with close links to the Continent, especially the Netherlands from which inspiration for the auricular style, a highly stylised free-flowing interpretation of organic forms, originated.
Framemakers working in London embraced this fashion with enthusiasm, using it in one form or another for pictures of almost all sizes from the 1630s to the 1680s. There were also other less demonstrative styles at the time, with repeating leaf or small-scale foliage patterns, whether used in architectural settings or as independent picture frames.
This guide explores 17th and 18th century picture frames made in these styles at Ham House that made up the collection of William Murray in the 1630s.
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