To over-frame or not to over-frame? That is the question!

I have just spent a very interesting afternoon at the London Watercolour and Drawings Fair at the Science Museum, Kensington. There were some amazing pieces of art on display and a showcase of some truly stunning artists. As a general point about most of the framing on display I would say that the choices of materials were very bold as regarding widths and styles of frame. Some pieces are very old and have their original ornate gold frames which is to be expected. This is the correct thing to do if the frame is the original one as this adds to the value of the art and adds to the picture's provenance. However I have always been quite a believer in not 'over-framing' pictures. This means that wide, ornate gold mouldings would probably be one of the last choices on a small subtle watercolour and yet there were plenty of examples of this type of frame in use. I discussed this with several of the exhibitors there and they put across their reasons for using this type of frame as keeping with tradition and a more ornate style of framing actually adding to the overall impact of the work of art. I must say that the framing did look very impressive all together in one display when all those frames were heavy ornate frames. However I wonder if the same could be said when each piece of art would be hanging on it's own in a new home? I think that if you are looking at the frame before you are looking at the artwork you have probably made the wrong choice of framing materials. Nothing that I saw today has changed this belief. However there would seem to be a place for more substantial framing if only for older style paintings? An interesting debate that I am sure will continue for a long time to come. The London Watercolour and Drawings Fair continues at the Science Museum, Kensington until Sunday 5th February 2012.

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02 February 2012, 22:21
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