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S, I have a gold frame that looks unusual to me and I wanted…

Good morning Robert S, I have...
Good morning Robert S,
I have a gold frame that looks unusual to me and I wanted to ask you about it. It measures 18.25" x 14.25". What seems unusual is there appears to be a thick veneer on the face of the frame. Thanks so much.
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Answered in 12 hours by:
3/12/2018
Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,492
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Hi Joe,

Just letting you know I got the Q and photos of the frame.

Many thanks!

Robert.

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Hi Joe,

I would say this is a very old frame from the early 1800s.

One of the ways of dating them is by looking at the profile or design of the outside edge (or "back edge" as it's technically known), the side that's perpendicular to the wall. Most frames from the 1800s have a channel or hollow like this example. This channel first began to appear at the end of the first quarter of the 1800s and immediately before, the shape was beveled like yours. So yours is no newer than the 1820s, in my opinion.

I see the 'veneer' you mention. It's a thick layer of gesso (a mixture of animal glue and plaster of Paris) that's built up to form the profile of the molding, a process that's quicker and easier to reproduce than hand carving. These were the days before machine shaping tools were invented (they appeared from the late 1840s on) and so the molding profiles were all done with hand planes or, as in this case, by casting in gesso. A layer of bole (colored clay mixed with glue size) is then added as a preparatory base for water gilding.

The colors of the bole also followed a strict chronology. Mauve in the early part of the century, grays until about 1830 and then reds for the last half of the century. So looking at yours the color of the bole (where the gilding has flaked away) is definitely not red, so this is further evidence of its age.

As for value, these authentic American Empire period frames don't have any specific following of collectors but it would certainly appeal to someone with just the right sized and aged painting looking for a contemporaneous frame to put it in.

As such, it would sell at auction in the $140 - $200 range. Full retail/replacement/insurance value: $400.

Hope this helpful!

Best wishes,
Robert.

Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,492
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
Verified
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