Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 75

The Bridgewater Collection and its picture frames
Fig. 14 / Peter Paul Rubens,
Mercury bearing Psyche
to Olympus (BG174), in
English frame of ca. 1800
(Pater Aubé?), Edinburgh,
Scottish National Gallery,
Bridgewater Loan.
Fig. 15 / Raphael, Holy
Family with a Palm
Tree (BG35), in English
frame of ca. 1835 (John
Smith), Edinburgh,
Scottish National Gallery,
Bridgewater Loan.
While Aubé was clearly the duke’s principal framemaker, it is equally clear that a number of frames in
the collection were newly made by other craftsmen.
In Bond’s engraving of the New Gallery (see figs. 2
& 3), for example, both Raphael’s Holy Family with
a Palm Tree (BG35; fig. 15) and Guercino’s David and
Abigail (BG 27) are seen in English frames of ca.
1800 – evidently replacing whatever frames they
had when they were in the Orléans collection, yet of
an Italianate style, not that of Aubé. A similar case
is that of Turner’s Dutch Boats in a Gale of 1801 (“The
Bridgewater Seapiece”) (BG251; Private Collection, on
loan to the National Gallery, London), the surviving
original frame of which is of an English pattern. With
its bound reeds at the top edge the design came to be
known as a Morland type, and it was used extensively
by Turner in the period ca. 1805-1815. In the present
case it may be noted how the depth and rhythm of the
rising acanthus leaves echo the power of the waves,
in a way that suggests that the artist himself was
responsible for supplying the frame for his painting.
The Bridgewater Collection and its picture frames
Immediately after the death of the duke in 1803 his
principal heir, the Marquess of Stafford, had Cleveland
House extensively refurbished by his own architect, C.
H. Tatham. The purpose was two-fold: first, to create a
series of rooms in which to accommodate the combined
Bridgewater and Stafford Collections of Old Masters;
second, since he intended (unlike the duke) to make
his Gallery accessible to the public, to create a display
that was appropriately handsome and imposing.18 It
was accordingly particularly important that his picture
frames should adequately reflect the prestige both of
the collection and of its architectural surroundings.
Bond’s engraving (see figs. 2 & 3) records the
architecture and picture hang of the most prestigious
space in the newly inaugurated Stafford Gallery, the socalled New Gallery.19 The view shows that while at this
date several of the Orléans pictures retained the frames
that they must have possessed when at the Palais Royal,
others show frames of an earlier date.


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