Bespoke framing & measuring

Period Frames London Ltd provides a bespoke specialist framing service. We design individual patterns and provide a finish to your specific specification.  We don’t use mass produced products and we start each new frame from scratch with raw wood.

James Dickins is able to frame almost anything including antique paintings, tapestries, ceramics, samplers, prints, watercolours, acrylic, metal work and glass. Recent commissions have included making ornate frames for large TV monitors.

We can take large orders for exhibitions and art and antique fairs. Our workshop space allows us to make frames up to 5 metres.

We provide a hanging service, if required.

Picture frame restoration and alteration

We undertake frame restoration, restoring antique and original frames. This work may involve, first, cutting and rejoining old frames. We replace damaged patterns by taking casts either from the frame under repair or from our existing stock of traditional boxwood moulds . If it is a carved frame, then a carved repair can be undertaken. The final stage is to get the finish right. This might involve touching in the finish of the damaged piece with the original frame or totally re gilding the frame.

Our team works closely with picture restorers and conservationists and is able to provide a service of restoration at the time of reframing a painting.

Boxwood moulds used for picture frame making
Original Victorian Boxwood moulds
Watercolours and drawings

Our framing service meets museum and conservation grade standards.

Conservation framing prevents deterioration of art usually caused by the atmosphere and harmful sun rays. We use high quality products for all watercolour framing including breathable, acid free and reversible adhesives.  The glass we use is of museum conservation quality and UV-filtered.

We also 'close mount' watercolours into large frames without using mounts  - as in the 3” David frame with a black ebony finish shown first left below. The second image is a watercolour framed in a large off-white mount with a 1” Hardy frame in a metal leaf finish with boxwood corners. The third image is the Euro frame - one of our most popular frames for watercolours and drawings.

Preparing and finishing a frame

Frames are prepared for finishing with gesso, a mixture of glue and whitening. The gesso is applied with a ‘single cream’ consistency, as a base coat. Then, depending on the final finish required, the second coat is either a red bole (an earthy clay) for gold leaf frames or a red-based colour prior to metal leafing a frame. For our bronze and metal leaf finishes, we make up a yellow gesso and then usually apply a red-based colour before the final leafing or bronze finishing.

For a gold leaf frame there will be 6 or 7 coats, starting with 3 coats of hard gesso followed by 3 or 4 soft coats. The final stage involves wet and dry sanding: washing back the gesso to achieve a smooth finish and sanding with very fine sandpaper.

A burnished bronze finish is achieved by applying a yellow gesso base. You then stipple on a red-based colour before stippling on bronze but it is important to allow the red colour to be seen through the gold. The gold is then burnished and lacquered to seal the finish and toned with a wax tone and finally dusted with rottenstone to create an antique look.

Boxwood moulds used for picture frame making
Original Victorian Boxwood moulds

For white gold or aluminium finishes, a dark-blue or black is used after the gesso coat as a base colour.

Decappé, Colour and Gold are both suitable finishes for impressionist type paintings with stippled colours. This involves stippling on red bole and then burnishing a stipple bronze, followed by a whitening wash. Our wood for gesso work is generally Obeche – a very stable wood. All our wood is FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified. Period Frames can also create special finishes to order.

Frames for exhibitions, gallery owners and Art dealers

John Stillman is a member of the Wapping Group of Artists a group of London based painters who were formally founded in 1946. The picture below shows examples of John Stillman’s work, framed by Period Frames.

Period Frames has designed a bespoke frame for acclaimed artist Sherree Valentine-Daines.

Below (left) shows Lord Coe with his portrait painted by Sherree and framed by Period Frames.

Examples of James Dickins’ frames to be found in the:

  • Carlton Club St James
  • Queen Mother’s Box, Epsom
  • Sandringham
  • Arundel Castle
  • Sandhurst
  • Victoria Barracks, Windsor
Paintings by Sherree Valentine Daines framed by Period Frames.  Lord Coe.
Sheree Valentine Daines
Specialist services

We take on specific commissions to design headboards, mirrors and overmantles, ornate television surrounds. Period Frames also make arch top spandrels and oval and circular spandrels.

We also frame important pieces of china such as the one shown below (second from the left) in a 2.5 ” circular frame using a Boudin panel.

Mosaics and painted tiles can also be significantly enhanced by the right kind of frame. The Miro painted tile shown below has an individually designed black frame with a stippled gesso central panel.

We can design and make bespoke frames for home interiors. Mirrors and overmantles can be made in both modern and traditional styles and to client’s specifications .

Headboards are also designed and finished following client specification using a variety of fabrics. Period Frames has also been commissioned to design frame surrounds for large televisions.

L-R: Arch top spandrel frame | Circular Boudin frame | Framed Miro tile | Dutch Primitive framed mirror | Mirror framed with medium rottenstone finish + black slip | 3" Reverse Aluminium Leaf frame | Headboard frame

Click each image to enlarge
Handmade gold picture frame by Period Frames
Handmade gold picture frame by Period Frames
Handmade gold picture frame by Period Frames
Handmade gold picture frame by Period Frames
Handmade gold picture frame by Period Frames
Handmade gold picture frame by Period Frames
Handmade gold picture frame by Period Frames
Measuring for a bespoke frame

There are two sizes required  when measuring a frame.  They are:

Canvas Size

The maximum external size of the picture.

Sight Size

The size of the frame aperture
How to measure a picture

The canvas size is the external size of the painting, which will determine the size of the frame rebate. When measuring the canvas size, you should account for any projecting nail heads or folded canvas in the corners. A small amount will be added to the canvas size when the frame is made to allow the picture to fit the rebate easily. It is advisable to check that the picture is 'square' when measuring, so that no gaps show when the frame is made. NB: The height of the canvas is traditionally the first number quoted, so a 12"x 8" canvas is portrait, whereas an 8"x 12" canvas is landscape.

The sight size is the size of the aperture of the frame, which will cover a small amount of the edge of the painting. When measuring the sight size, you should ensure that any unpainted edges of the canvas are covered, but not by so much that elements of the composition or parts of the signature are lost. A small picture of 6" x 8" might be covered about 1/4 on each side, whereas a larger canvas could be covered between 1/4" to 3/4" on each side.


Delivery throughout UK and Eire:

Our delivery time is usually between 2 – 6 weeks from confirmation of order to completion. We deliver weekly in person to London addresses and other locations by prior agreement.

Overseas delivery by agreement:

We are able to arrange delivery worldwide.  We pack the frames and make the despatch arrangements ourselves, using  professional couriers.

Competitively priced:

We are able to achieve competitive and reasonable courier charges. These are additional to the costs of the frame, but calculated at the time of quotation. 

We require a deposit of 50% of the order value prior to shipment/delivery, with the balance due on completion. Payment can be made by credit card or direct BACS transfer.

If you consign paintings to us, we require that you have adequate insurance to cover loss and damage whilst any items are with us. Whilst we take the utmost of care with your works of art to prevent loss or damage, all works of art collected are stored, repaired and delivered at the customer’s own risk.

There are risks associated with sending glazed art works by courier services. Contact us for more details on this.


Elizabeth Walsh Website Designs