Every Joseph McCarthy frame is handmade and combines time honoured traditional techniques with innovative modern methods.

Many of the designs use traditional 'applied composition ornament' techniques, ensuring that each frame is truly unique. Applied composition ornament or "Compo", as it's known in the trade, is a long established method of decorating frames, from the simple to the spectacular.


Joseph McCarthy owns the historically important 'Bloomsbury Collection' of reverse-carved, boxwood moulds which have been in continuous use since 1837.

This collection is described by the Tate as "of extraordinary cultural significance" and "of national importance to the history of frame making". These exquisitely carved moulds produce the cherished first-generation decorative ornaments required to make the highest quality frames and have been used to make historic frames hanging in some of the world's leading art galleries, institutions and stately homes.

Each piece of ornament is made individually and applied to the frame using techniques handed down over generations. The frame is then gilded, mellowed and hand toned in order to achieve the desired finish.

This exceptional heritage combined with fine gilding and unique finishes is inherent in every Joseph McCarthy frame.