Re-Framing Constable

We are thrilled to announce that our latest collaboration with the Tate has been unveiled
 is now on display at the Clore Gallery, TATE Britian.

The re-framing of Constable’s ‘Salisbury Cathedral’ painting (1831), was based on the frame he chose for his diploma work displayed at the Royal Academy in 1829. We assisted the Tate with access to our unique collection of period carvings “The Bloomsbury Collection” and the loan of authentic period moulds from our archive for making the frame.

The Bloomsbury Collection is an invaluable resource - described by tate as "of National importance to the history of frame making in Britain" and "of extraordinary cultural significance"

It’s a library of exquisitely detailed reversed carved moulds from box wood that has been in continuous use by our company since 1837 with some of the carvings dating back to c1760. The ornamentation is created using techniques largely unchanged for 250 years that we still use to this day and were used to create the Constable Frame.

TATE & The Bloomsbury Collection

We are delighted to have a partnership agreement with the Tate on the research and cataloging of our historically significant Bloomsbury Collection.

One of the aims of this research will be to uncover instances of uses to which the collection has been put over its rich and varied life.  We hope to find connections to frames in the Tate's own collection as well as many other leading collections both at home and abroad.

In due course the intention is to produce a Tate publication and stage an exhibition where part of the Bloomsbury workshop will be reproduced along with a limited number of the reverse carvings, allowing people to understand how this unique and historically important art form is undertaken.

The Tate has said: "The project is a unique opportunity to research the UK's last specialist composition ornament business, within the context of this once flourishing trade from the early nineteenth century.  The Bloomsbury Collection is of national interest with regard to the study of frame-making and the decorative arts.  Research of this will fill a substantial gap in our knowledge; hitherto publications have concentrated on carved rather than the more abundant applied pressed ornament."

The Tate is a world centre for the study of British art and has a major collection of nineteenth century composition frames.  There is a long-established Frames Conservation Section, internationally recognised as a progressive centre of excellence with particular interest and expertise in applied composition ornament frames from the late eighteenth century onwards.



We are planning to create an image database of all pressing-moulds in the Bloomsbury Collection.  This database will be hosted at the Tate.

Research and Scholarship

Researching the Collection and its complex provenance forms the basis of the project.  The Tate's greatest success is its ability to champion aspects of art which are not widely known and bring them to the lives of the general public, adding to their enjoyment and understanding.  This project will build innovative intellectual leadership and education in a field where the Tate has strength.  Collaboration, the exchange of ideas and expertise and rigorous scholarship are required to gain new insights.

Interpretation and Education

The project has the objective of recording, researching and presenting the Bloomsbury Collection.  New knowledge and fresh perspectives will enable us to help the public understand and enjoy the meaning and value of British art.  Visitors to Tate Britain have recently been given added value with a new initiative called Frame Stories.  This is the inclusion in displays of 15 frames with information labels.  These labels principally describe, in 100 words, the relationship between painting and frame including several for composition frames.  For example, Benjamin West N05622 Sketch for 'St Paul Shaking off the Viper (1786).