Quality History Tea: Picture Frames

guess who didn't want to buy a frame that would be the photo's actual size when there was a perfectly larger than needed one in my house

Have you ever wondered about the history of picture frames? Realistically speaking I'm probably the only person that's curious about this because by the 21st page of Google I still couldn't piece the history together. A few (more like 2 full days) hours later, I was finally be able to put together the quality tea that is the history of picture frames.

If we jump way back in time to ancient Egyptians and Greeks, frames existed as paint on the borders. Rather than being separate from the art, it was on the art. So being a 'Framer' as a profession was as simple as dipping a paint brush in gold and painting a box around the art itself. I say simple but now that I think of it, drawing a straight line is something I mess up even when I'm using a ruler.

In the 2nd Century AD a mummy portrait (y'know when the mummy was alive and stood for hours getting that on point selfie portrait) was discovered in an Egyptian tomb with not a golden line acting as a frame but! in a wooden frame! This mummy's painter must have been like the Ancient Egyptian James Bond for painting because no one knew about this new way, can you imagine if the village found out that someone was hiding a new way of framing a portrait? That painter would have been tomb buddies with the guy he just painted.

In the 12th and 13th century this was when hand carved wooden frames began to really shine.  The way frames were made was the ancient Egyptian and Greek technique in reverse. Rather than adding the frame at the very end, the frame was made first. The rundown of how a hand carver's day went a bit like this: They bought a block of wood, carved the frame into the wood at the edges and then handed it to the artist. Then the artist would paint the artwork in the center of the wood. So essentially, before the carver even carved they had to have a rough sketch from the artist of how much of a frame to indent into the wood for the artist to still have enough of a center to paint. At this point in time, artwork was mainly just something people saw in churches.

Then some individuals were like MAYBE I WANT ART IN MY HOUSE WITH A NICE FANCY FRAME. 

This is when framing went back under construction. Instead of the frame + artwork being on the same block of wood it was thought to be less costly and save a lot of time if the frame was separate from the artwork. Time is money so obviously anything that saved time AND money was the way to start living. So, the painting would be on one block of wood and the frame would be placed around the painting using nails and glue. VWALA - an easier route to framing was born in 16th century Europe!

Bonus fun fact about frames: 
Unlike paintings and everything else in this world, there is no copyright law on frames! So that means that there are a lot of similar looking frames all made by different people.

And there we have it! Picture Frames History explained! I find it so interesting how the frame evolved from a gold line, to being part of the art, and then finally to being something separate!
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I'm going to end this with a small lil note from someone who doesn't really have a blogging niche: 

Be true to yourself and write what makes you happy even if it isn't everyone's cup of tea. One of my favorite posts I've written is actually Crash Course: Paperclip. What I didn't know when I was writing it was that that precise post would lead to my first brand collaboration.  As long as you enjoy what you're writing, keep doing you & don't try to imitate anyone else.

I like writing history crash courses because I like making history fun. The articles I read when writing my crash courses are actually extremely boring. This is where my sarcastic humorous self comes in and sprinkles in some fun like salt bae. I'm sort of rambling but if you made it to the end of this post, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it!

10 comments:

  1. This is literally so interesting and probably even more so because I never would have thought to actually look into it for myself! I have picture frames all over the place, I love displaying photos!

    Soph - https://sophhearts.com x

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    1. YAY so happy to hear you found it interesting to read! I just found myself looking at picture frames and wondered what history rollercoaster led to it being something everyone has all over their house and! here we are with me writing a crash course on it :) Thank you so much for reading and commending Sophie!

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  2. This is really interesting to read Sahara! I always learn so much through your posts so thank you! I’ve never thought too much about a picture frame but it was cool to find out the history. It’s fascinating to think back then that the frame came first and the artist was confined to a pre-made shape. I love that you write about whatever makes you happy and you always stay true to yourself. It’s so refreshing to see! Keep being you and sharing the things you like! You are awesome! <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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    1. So glad to hear you found it interesting to read! That just made me so happy, I love writing posts that people can gain something new from, Crash Courses are honestly one of my favorite things to write! I found that so interesting too - that frames in the beginning were made first and the artist had to make-do with the room that the carver left for them.

      That's so so sweet of you to say Bexa! It really means a lot to me that you take the time to read my posts and comment on them, thank you so so much!! ❤️❤️❤️

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  3. I love these posts, they really make you think about something so basic that you would never usually consider. That end fact about copyright was really interesting! And again, something I would never even usually consider. I love that you write about anything you feel like, you don't need to squeeze your content to fit some tiny niche x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. Yay I'm so happy to hear you enjoy reading my crash courses, they're really fun to write (though they do take a while hahaha)! That's actually how the topic of crash courses come to my mind, I start looking at the simplest things and start wonder what history rollercoaster happened that this (thing/object/sidewalk haha) is right in front of me.

      That's so sweet of you to say Sophie, thank you so so much!! ❤️❤️❤️ Although in the beginning it was a bit hard to even think of promoting my posts because they were a bit different than the norm, I used to actually not even post them on twitter because I kept wondering uh who would read this? I've realized, after a while, that a niche isn't something I need to fit myself into :)

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Sophie, it really means a lot to me! ❤️

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  4. I love reading these posts, just like your post on sidewalks! Interesting and fun! Frames not having copyright is interesting! Also, that is very strange that at some point, the frames were done first, and then the painting. I really do love the idea of painting a gold boarder around images, and that is their "frame". I can imagine that would look so pretty, but like you said, I can't draw straight lines either!! https://lifeofshar.co.uk/

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    1. YAY! I love writing Crash Courses and it makes me so happy to hear you enjoy reading them!! I love narrating history in a fun way because really history is just one big rollercoaster that textbooks take the literal life out of with boring narrations hahaha. RIGHT!! I actually love the aesthetic that a gold line at the edges would give a painting but I'm no Picasso for a straight line, it'd probably be abstract art on the edges if we were the ones doing frames back in the day 😂

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  5. I love this history lesson, thanks for all your research!
    We visited a castle in vicVicto, BC today, now I wish I had paid more attention to the picture frames around the paintings!

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    1. YAY I'm so happy you enjoyed reading this crash course, it was really fun to write and research about! And now you know for future visits to look at frames :) Exploring castles sounds like so much fun, so much history in one place!

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