Dating antique picture frames

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For opening times see the website, or telephone 01732 462100.

This guide was produced on the occasion of a lecture by Jacob Simon at Knole in November 1998 and has been revised December 2013.

Geldorp's frames will have been in the most fashionable taste; those that are billed individually cost £6 or £6.10s each and are variously described as 'fort Riche' and 'tout doré' in his rather idiosyncratic French.

For Taylor, Goodricke and Geldorp, see British picture framemakers, 1610-1950 on the National Portrait Gallery website.

This carved, coloured and gilt frame, costing the great sum of £12 in all, must have been very rich.

Some three years earlier the portrait painter, George Geldorp, a friend of Van Dyck, had charged Lord Middlesex a grand total of £104.10s for various paintings, including copies after Van Dyck, and for seven frames.

At least six wagon loads, including 157 pictures and maps, made their way to Knole, with the great cartoons now in the Cartoon Gallery specially rolled for the occasion.

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Knole is incomparably rich in the finest early seventeenth-century English furniture.

It is sometimes forgotten that the collection is almost as rich in magnificent early picture frames.

Some of these frames are on pictures collected by the Earls of Dorset but a forced sale in 1645 during the Civil War dispersed much of the collection.

At the time Lord Middlesex was actively remodelling Copt Hall, with Edmund Kinsman, a master mason with links with Inigo Jones, in charge at the beginning of the decade, and Nicholas Stone, Kinsman's sometime partner, at the end.

Stone was a leading stone carver but for Lord Middlesex his role extended to arranging picture framing so that in August 1639 he is to be found contracting that Zachary Taylor, a wood carver in the King's employ, would produce a picture frame 'of the Right Lady Contes of Middlesex pictor' for £6, and that Taylor's long-time associate, the painter Matthew Goodricke, would colour and gild the frame for a further £6.

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