Early Victorian: Veneered Frames, Empire Style...
Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain from 1837 until 1901. The longest reign in British history became known as the Victorian Era, terminology adopted on this side of the Atlantic as well. For purposes of this website, I have divided the frames created in this productive period into three parts: Early Victorian, Mid-Victorian, and Late Victorian.
The Industrial Revolution, which had its origins in the 18th Century, gave rise to new technologies. Frames that would have been hand-carved in the 18th Century were now cast from molds and mass-produced with length moldings.
The use of wood veneers had its origin in ancient Egypt, where hardwood was scarce. Woodworkers adhered a thin wood veneer to a supporting molding made of less expensive soft wood. In 18th Century Europe veneer was often used to make fine furniture. It was sawn by hand. The invention of saws greatly increased the availability of wood veneers made from walnut, rosewood, bird's eye maple, and mahogany. Generally speaking, the thicker the veneer the earlier the frame. I have grouped most of the veneer frames in this room, because they all have the same look, even though some of them date to a later period.
The Hick's style frame is named for the primitive Americian painter Edward Hicks. Its distinguishing characteristic is the corner block, sometimes plain, sometimes decorated with embossed brass mounts or stencilled designs. Hick's style frames were made for large portraits in oil as well as small watercolor paintings. It is also a common profile of folk art frames.
The period corner samples to the right illustrate a number of veneered profiles from the Empire Period. The ogee, or S-shaped, profile is emblematic of the Early Victorian era.