Founded in 1907, Lowy is recognized as the country's leading fine art services firm.

The Art of a Carrig-Rohane Reproduction American Frame

April 23, 2021

4 minute read

Today we highlight our American frame project for Vero Beach resident Ellen Fifer’s commissioned painting from contemporary artist Don Hatfield.

After discussing the Arts and Crafts period frame makers and their revival of artisanal work, Ellen decided on a fitting, custom sized, early 20th Century quality frame reproduction by Boston-based firm Carrig-Rohane.

 

Italian 18th-Century Venetian style frame
American 20th-Century Carrig-Rohane frame

The handcrafted and non-industrial styles from the Boston-based turn of the century firm Carrig-Rohane were based on earlier European frame styles which the group embraced and translated into their own American idiom.

This canvas frame is a prime example, featuring 18k gold gilding and scrolling foliate corners inspired by the Italian Venetian style frames of the 18th century.

 

 

With bright-eyed enthusiasm for our artisans, Ellen kindly requested we document every step of the reproduction process so she could embrace the skilled labor of our team.

“It was a pleasant surprise and relief to see that there were still people out there who appreciate the artisanal bespoke aspect of what we do; a tradition which often seems to be overshadowed these days by our overly-technologized world we live in”
 Larry Shar

To start on the American wood picture frame, the Lowy team starts by choosing the right wood and carefully calculating the cutting blades for the initial cuts.

When we figure the size to fit, the framing team makes the rough cuts, marks out the wood to cut the excess, carves the classic Ogee profile molding, and fits the joints together with biscuits.

 

 

When we figure the size to fit, the framing team makes the rough cuts, marks out the wood to cut the excess, carves the classic Ogee profile molding, and fits the joints together with biscuits.

 

 

In the middle of the process, our carver, Jose Crispin, begins working on tracing the designs and then chiseling the finer, more decorative parts of the frame.

Carving the scrolling foliate corners

 

Spraying Gesso
Applying clay bole

 

 

 

After applying layers of gesso and clay bole to provide proper prep and under color, we then begin the most beautiful part of the process: water-lay gilding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After applying a full leafing, the burnishing begins to polish certain areas of the frame. To provide contrast to the final patina, our finisher subtly abrades the gold in areas and applies washes to simulate the aging of the original.

The verso of the American reproduction frame was then signed by each Lowy craftsman involved in the process; an homage to the tradition of the earlier artisanal craftsmanship which we at Lowy continue to emulate and carry into the 21st century!

“The craftsmanship and service did mean the most to me in selecting Lowy. 
It dismays me to know many of the crafts and much of the craftsmanship have disappeared from most industries. The handcrafting of the frame and the high quality that hand carving and gilding ensure are most critical to me.
I was also pleased with Lowy’s service and how quickly the team mocked up images of the artwork in different frames. Seeing a mock-up was incredibly valuable for assessing the effect of the frame. I commend Lowy’s reputation for excellence and look forward to working together in future projects.”

– Ellen Fifer

Our artisan’s work is impeccable, requiring many hours of apprenticeship training that’s handed down for many years. We’re proud to be one of the few full-service fine art companies and frame shops that continue to keep the art of frame-making and custom framing alive. Read more about us.