frame is the reward of the artist" Edgar Degas
Some of the earliest known picture frames date back to Roman times
but examples of the craft is extremely rare in that period. It's
believed that they were probably rare then as well. As history dictates,
following the Golden Age of civilization where artistic thought
flourished, there came the Dark Ages, most of the visual art coming
out of this period was in the form of murals, depictions of the
events of the times painted on walls, much like the cave men produced.
Not much need for frames. The more portable items were usually jewelry
and religious icons, generally small, easy to transport and in many
cases to hide. The frames were usually painted or gilded borders
and embellishments, decorative but not a separately produced entity.
The craft of custom picture framing, as we know it, was born in
the Renaissance period, a time of enlightenment, great minds began
to once again envision the wonders and beauties of the universe
and create works to personify those visions. Artists, patrons and
craftsmen worked together to produce what exist even today as a
tribute to mans capabilities. The importance that the great masters
placed on the integrity of a properly finished work and the value
the patrons of those artists had in the image they were portraying
influenced in no small way the direction and inspiration of the
artisan/craftsman picture framer. For five hundred years the craft
The industrial revolution began to change the fabric of framing.
With the introduction of mass produced art and the growing influence
of photography, picture frames started to appear on assembly lines.
Inexpensive reproduced artwork on paper became the norm in order
to satisfy the needs of the masses and what was once an integral
part of the finished piece became the edge from which you needed
to connect the wire. Skilled craftsmen were only to be found in
exclusive hard to find upscale shops that developed a mystique of
being expensive and out of reach for the average person. In the
middle part of the 20th century the once noble and dignified craft
of picture framing was relegated to hardware store basements and
garages in an effort to accommodate a cost conscious society which
was more interested in getting something up on the wall than the
quality of what it was.
Towards the end of the 1970's and the early 1980's people became
more concerned about the quality of what they were hanging on their
hard earned walls and the Limited Edition print marked began to
emerge. As a result, how that art was packaged started to become
a greater consideration. Society on the whole began to develop a
stronger appreciation for style. Custom frame shops began to re-emerge
to satisfy the need to provide a more sophisticated product.
Economics was still an important issue and large discount departments
of craft stores dominated the market. But, in any industry you get
what you pay for and large discounters were paying for inexperienced
and non-dedicated framers. Temporary part time employees who were
there until something better came along made up the bulk of the
As artwork became more expensive so too arose the need for more
dedicated professionals to protect that investment. Small shops
with an emphasis on quality and education of their employees started
to become more popular. More and more people started to look to
their picture framers as they did their doctors and dentists.
Independent shops had to define their missions and stay abreast
of the rapidly changing standards in the industry. Manufacturers
began to provide higher quality products in order to supply these
discriminating professionals with the tools they needed to the best
possible job for the customer. Trade associations began to offer
workshops and seminars to concerned framers and in 1986 the first
Certification exam was offered by the Professional Picture Framers
As we traverse to a new millennium we see the industry taking a
new turn to once again embrace the old ways and techniques of making
frames and to design utilizing modern products and methods to suit
the art style and medium and to offer the discriminating consumer
the best possible choices for contemporary tastes and lifestyles.
In February of 2003 the first Master Picture Framer certification
was offered, elevating those craftsmen interested enough to participate
to new levels of expertise.
We at Frame Craft / Lampros Gallery are that new generation of dedicated
professional picture framers. Our Mission is to stay informed, educate
our customers and to keep an eye to the quality of the product we
are producing and to advance our craft.
No job is too small to give our utmost attention and skill to.
Peter J. Lampros, CPF
David A. Woodard, CPF
Mary Boone, CPF