The idea of framing a picture has been around for centuries. Many wall paintings had decorative borders long before the use of a wooden frame. Originally frames were specially made for the individual painting but as the pictures changed hands the frames were also changed to suit the fashion of the period. Frames were also made to suit the decoration of the particular room, linking period decorative features. Until the mid seventeenth century English frames were mainly of Oak and were painted Black. Later 'leatherwork frames were popular, carved and gilded. Next were French frame designs covered with mouldings and highly polished water gilding . These frames were almost better works of art and craftsmanship than the paintings to be put into them. The Grand Tourists imported new styles of frames from Italy and Rome. Greek classical ornament followed in the late eighteenth century. Later in the eighteenth century many frames were produced decorated with mouldings. The ornament was applied directly to the frames and were much cheaper to produce than hand carved. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood preferred simpler water gilt frames and gilding directly onto oak rather than mass produced frames.
In the twentieth century many artists reused old frames or simply decorated their own. The modernists often rejected the frame altogether. At this time some museums also removed frames from both modern and Old masters thinking that they interfered with the integrity of the picture. Framing has a long history and specially made frames especially for a painting isn't really common but going back to the start of my blog, if I could I would love to specially make and decorate individual frames for each of my paintings.