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An Arts & Crafts, Pre-Raphaelite style, painted picture frame, with peacocks, squirrels, robins, and fairies in a stylised wooded landscape, c. 1880s

oil on wood

aperture: 30 x 22.5 cm.

overall: 51 x 43.5 cm.

This frame has particular visual resonance with the work of Edward Coley Burne-Jones, especially the stance of the ghostly fairies in profile at the top of the frame. Burne-Jones’s father was a carver and gilder and he appreciated the importance of the frame, which he considered integral to a work of art. The Pre-Raphaelites believed, in the terms of Ruskin, that a frame should be faithful to its materials – showing the texture of the wood beneath any gilding or decoration. The choice of a woodland theme here could not be more apt.

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