A Nice Story

This is in response to a question over on "The Grumble".

In the late 1980s, I made some frames and did some restoration work on some frames for an exhibition on the Civil War at The Chicago Historical Society. One of the objects in the exhibition was a portrait of Jefferson Davis, circa 1865 in a circa 1865 frame. The curator wondered if we could reproduce that frame for use on another painting. Off to Thanhardt-Burger, owners of the Newcomb-Macklin collection of molds. T-B kindly gave me access to the collection, where after much dusty rummaging, I did find some molds that I thought were very close.

From the "leftovers" box.

The middle ornament is similar, though I "remember" it as more fruits and veggies, than floral. The acanthus "skin" is probably similar. I had some ornaments made, and took them to compare to the 123 year old frame. 100 % certainty, the old and the new came from the exact, same mold.


A little back story: Newcomb-Macklin was a very successful company for a long time; they routinely acquired molds and designs from other companies that were leaving the field. One interesting aspect of the 1865 frame was that it was leafed in both metal leaf for the body, and water gilt gold for the highlights, which is not unheard of, but rare.

This is an image I posted at the Grumble, cropped and larger here. I think the top, running ornament might be similar to the ornament pictured above, the top ornament.

Frames, history, serendipity; all we need is SEX.