Frames Glossary

From Wiki
Name Description Image
Abacus Square slab found on top of a capital. Abacus
Acanthus Any of the stylized forms of the Acanthus plant, such as Acanthus mollis, introduced by the Greeks. Acanthus Harris.jpg
Animal glue A family of traditional protein colloid adhesives made from the skin, bones, or organs typically of horses and cattle, but also rabbits and fish. Animal glue Wikipedia.jpg
Antefix The closing ornament on the roof of buildings or on the top of an object.
Antefix Harris.jpg
Antependium A hanging which was suspended over and in front of the alter in medieval churches.
Antepedium Wikiepidea.jpg
Anthemion Based on semi-naturalistic ornament imitating palm plants of palmettes, and sometimes alternating with honeysuckle linked by helixes and cauliculi.
Anthemion Harris.jpg
Architectural See Kentian.
Architrave A group of raised moldings on the lower side of an entablature. Architrave Harris.jpg
Archivolt The molding running around the face of an arch immediately above the opening. Archivolt Harris.jpg
Arris Sharp edge of molding. Arris alamy.jpg
Astragal A half-circle convexity, often referred to as a miniature torus. Astragal Wikepidea.jpg
Artist frame Frame designed by artist and incorporated into the artwork’s design. Artist frame CWF.jpg
Auricular A 17th-century frame style resembling ears and earlobes. These frames were highly stylized, free-flowing interpretations of organic forms, usually animal or marine in nature. Auricular Frame Style.png
Back edge Among the molding courses farthest from the innermost or sight edge. Back edge CWF.jpg
Base Horizontal moldings beneath a column, engaged column, or pilaster. Bases Harris.jpg
Bead-and-Reel An astragal which has been worked into a pattern of alternating pearls and extended pearls. Bead-and-reel Boyce.jpg
Beading Semicircular molding carved to resemble a string of beads; sometimes called a pearl course. Beaded molding Boyce.jpg
Bevel Dominated by large flat surfaces angled inward toward the sight edge. Bevel CWF.jpg
Blocked corners A frame with square raised corners. Blocked corners CWF.jpg
Bole A soft, oily clay mixed with glue size and used as a colored and burnishable substrate for water gilding. Bole Rees.jpg
Bolection A reverse section frame type, adapted from Baroque architecture introduced in the late 17th century, with a distinctly convex shaped inner molding course curving downward to a lower molded course on the outer edge. Bollection CWF.jpg
Bronzed Late 19th-century revival style intentionally colored with a brown-bronze finish. Bronzed CWF.jpg
Burnishing Late 19th-century revival style intentionally colored with a brown-bronze finish.The process of polishing to a high sheen the water gilt bole surface with a smooth agate tipped burnishing tool. Only water gilding can be burnished. Burnishing Rees.jpg
Bucranium Ornament in the form of an ox skull, usually in low or half relief. Bucranium Harris.jpg
C-scroll Any of various “C” shaped elements scroll, especially popular in Rococo ornamentation. C-scroll Boyce.jpg
Cabling Similar to rope but the carved elements are closer to perpendicular to the molding length. Cabling Harris.jpg
Cameo Small oval decoration derived from the carved classical gemstones, which may be part of a frieze or predella. Cameo Wikipedia.jpg
Canted corner An angled (oblique-angled) line or surface that cuts off a corner. Canted corner CWF.jpg
Capital The collection of elements crowning a column, engaged column, or pilaster, There are five orders: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite. Capital Harris.jpg
Cartouche A boss-like raised ornament, often asymmetrical, used as a centering motif. Cartouche Boyce.jpg
Cassetta 1. Italian term for architrave; a tripartite frame comprising a simple, lap-jointed back frame and entablature-derived moldings. 2. Molding derived from entablature, with sight and back edge moldings separated by a frieze. Cassetta Newbery.jpg
Cauliculus See Rinceau.
Cavetto Molding type comprised of a quarter-circle concavity. Cavetto Harris.jpg
Chamfer A beveled edge. Chamfer Gloag.jpg
Coffer Derived from a sunken panel in a ceiling or soffit, it consists of a rosette surrounded by four lengths of taenia molding. Coffer Wikipedia.jpg
Column Freestanding circular supporting shaft, usually completed at top and bottom with a capital and base respectively. Column Harris.jpg
Compo Short for Composition. A putty-like casting material simulating carved wood. It is usually made from a heated mixture of chalk or whiting, animal glue, linseed oil, and resin that is pressed into rigid molds and applied to nearly any surface shape while still warm and flexible. Typically, the surface was then gilded or painted. The compo elements are highlighted in red at right. Compo CWF.jpg
Composite order One of the five classical orders. A Roman elaboration of the Corinthian order, having the acanthus leaves of its capital combine with the large volutes of the Ionic order, and other elaborate details. Composire order Chambers.jpg
Congé Cove base molding flush at the top with the wall above, but with a fillet between the cove and the floor. Conge Harris.jpg
Console Bracket in the shape of an S-scroll, with one end broader than the other. Console Harris.jpg
Corbel A support projecting from a vertical surface. Corbel Harris.jpg
Corinthian order The slenderest and most ornate of the three Greek orders, characterized by a bell-shaped capital with volutes and two rows of acanthus leaves, and with an elaborate cornice. Much used by the Romans for its showiness. Corinthian order Chambers.jpg
Cornice Group of raised moldings on the upper side of an entablature. Cornice Harris.jpg
Cove Also called a scoop. A molding profile similar to a cavetto molding, concave and about a quarter-circle or less in profile. It was commonly use in Rococo furniture and interiors to link two opposed surfaces, such as a wall and soffit or a wall and ceiling. Cove molding Boyce.jpg
Crackle finish A crackle finish, or craquelure, is a pattern of finish shrinkage often revealing underlying layers. Crackle finish CWF.jpg
Cross-hatch Background texture, usually an X-shaped pattern incised in the gesso. Cross hatch CWF.jpg
Cushion A frame type featuring a somewhat flattened convex section molding. They could feature carved reliefs often in the clasped leaf and tulip motifs. Other common patterns are a waving pattern of twisted leaves and beads on a string. Similar to the French Louis XIII style. Cushion CWF.jpg
Cyma recta Generically called an ogee when the orientation is unclear. Classical entablature concavity continuing into a convexity. Cyma recta Harris.jpg
Cyma reversa Also referred to as a reverse ogee. Classical entablature convexity running into a concavity. Cyma reversa Harris.jpg
Dentil Regularly spaced row of small blocks forming part of a cornice or carved molding. Dentils Harris.jpg
Diagonal spline A separate structural joining element perpendicular to the mitered joint. Various shapes include tapered wedges or thin veneers called feather splines. Diagonal spline popularwoodworking.jpg
Diapering Surface decoration composed of repeated small geometrical shapes such as diamonds or squares etc. connecting with one another. Diapering Meyer.jpg
Distemper yellow ocher A generic description for the yellow-painted outer edge of frames using a glue-based medium mixed with yellow ocher pigment. Distemper yellow ocher CWF.jpg
Dolphin Decorative motif; mythological fish-like sea creature. Derived from ancient Greek and Roman art. Dolphin Boyce.jpg
Doric order The column and entablature developed by the Dorian Greeks, sturdy in proportion, with a simple cushion capital, a frieze of triglyphs and metopes, and mutules in the cornice. Doric order Chambers.jpg
Echinus Derived from an ovolo molding below the abacus, a band ornament with egg-and-dart or flutes interwoven with volutes. Echinus Harris.jpg
Egg-and-dart An ovolo carved with sheathed ovoids alternating with pointed (or other) forms, possibly derived from a schematized lotus leaf. Egg and dart Harris.jpg
Eglomisé A border treatment inside a wooden frame that is reverse painted and gilt on glass. Eglomise border CWF.jpg
Entablature Horizontal area supported by columns and consisting of architrave, frieze, and cornice. Entablature Harris.jpg
Fasces A reed and ribbon motif, symbolic of Roman authority that shows up in early 19th century frames. Fasces Meyer.jpg
Fascia Broad or narrow, shallow step derived from classical architrave. A general term for flat course in a molding. Fascia Ware.jpg
Feather spline(s) A type of diagonal spline: a thin saw kerf cut that is parallel to frames front surface and perpendicular to the miter joint, filled with veneer like piece of wood. Feather spline CWF.jpg
Festoon Also referred to as a swag. Decorative draping chain or garland of foliage, flowers, and/or fruit. Festoon Lockwood.jpg
Fillet Classically derived small step between larger moldings. Can be executed raised or recessed. Fillet Harris.jpg
Finial A round antefix. Finials Harris.jpg
Flemish scroll A scroll consisting of a reversed C-scroll joined to a C-scroll in such a way as to not form a flowing line. Flemish scroll Lockwood.jpg
Fleur-de-lis Stylized cluster of three flowers or petals, with central one erect and others bending outward. A heraldic device throughout Europe from late medieval times, associated especially with the French. Fleur-de-lis Boyce.jpg
Flute Vertical concave channels cut into shafts of columns or pilasters; regularly spaced scotias often alternating with darts and sometimes cabled or reeded. Fluting Harris.jpg
Fly specking A pattern of black specks from fly (or spider, typically white) droppings indicating age or benign neglect. Or, in this image of a reproduction, the imitation by brush-flicked black paint overspray. Fly specking CWF.jpg
Frieze Also referred to as a plate. A flat area between raised moldings, often not decorated. Also, the flat area between the cornice and the architrave. Frieze Harris.jpg
Gadroon Or Godroon, also referred to as lobing. A decorative motif consisting of convex curves in a series. In furniture and other decorative arts, it is an ornamental carved band of tapered, curving and sometimes alternating concave and convex sections, usually diverging obliquely either side of a central point, often with rounded ends vaguely reminiscent of flower petals. Gadrooning Harris.jpg
Gesso A standard substrate material comprising chalk and animal glue used to prepare a surface, especially wood, for painting or gilding. Gesso Loweryartimproved.jpg
Gilder’s liquor Used in the process of water gilding, a wetting mixture of water, alcohol and sizing used to activate the glue just prior to laying gold leaf.
Gilding The process of applying gold leaf or other precious metal leaf to a prepared surface. Gilding Rees.jpg
Glair Traditional European toning/matting varnish on gilding. It was also used as a size for some gilding techniques. Glair HollyMonroe.jpg
Greek fret See Meander. Greek fret Harris.jpg
Guilloche A low-relief running ornament depicting interwoven strands. Guilloche Harris.jpg
Guttae Plural of gutta. A set of small, drop-like ornaments, usually found in a Doric frieze. Gutta Wikipedia.jpg
Half lap A joint where half of the total thickness of each member overlaps at the corner.
Half lap miter A joint with a diagonal mitered upper portion which conceals a half lap lower portion. Half lap and half lap mitered Wikipedia.png
Hazzling Zig-zag chasing/cutting to add texture to the background in the gesso. Hazzling Karraker.jpg
Husk Foliage ornament that pertains to corn husks often in a naturalistic vertical series. Husk National gallery of Canada.jpg
Imbrication An overlapping pattern usually of scales, flowers, or leaves. Imbrication Harris.jpg
Ionic order The column and entablature originated by the Ionian Greeks, having a capital with large volutes, a fasciated entablature, continuous frieze, and usually dentils in the cornice. Ionic order Architecture basics Architecture basics.jpg
Italian Style For the purposes of this glossary, the two styles of frames are Salvator Rosa and Maratta (see below).
Salvator Rosa Similar to Maratta, an Italian frame associated with the 17th century artist Salvator Rosa, made popular in Britain in the 18th Century. The frame’s profile is a central scotia bordered by an astragal at the front outer edge and a narrow molding at the inner edge. Part of the ornament is applied to the profile rather than carved from it. The cove is undecorated. Decorative features include tongues, acanthus leaves, flutes, and beading.
Maratta Similar to Salvator Rosa, a frame that has a deep front hollow and a prominent outward curving top edge undercut by a back hollow. The inner cove has a continuous design. Decorative features often seen are tongues, acanthus leaves, and sometimes gadroons and shells. An Italian styled frame that gained popularity in Britain and was widely used during the period of 1750-1790. It received its namesake from its association with artist Carlo Maratta.
Kentian Also referred to as architectural frames. Popular from 1720-1760, the Kentian frame references British architect William Kent. It is essentially an architrave dominated by projecting square corners, flat frieze, and raised and carved outer edges. Kentian CWF.jpg
Key Also called a stretcher key; a tapered wedge fitted into joint openings on the back of and used for adjusting tension of a painting’s stretcher. Key Hiddengem.jpg
Knulling A British term, in definition similar to gadroon. Knulling Lockwood.jpg
Lamb’s tongue Technically a cyma reversa from Roman architecture; a popular low-relief Neoclassical ornament, usually molded in compo. Lambs tongue CWF.jpg
Leaf and tongue Carved ornament of alternating stylized acanthus leaf and tongue shapes, among several common motifs on British 18th-century Maratta-style frames. Leaf and Tongue CWF.jpg
Meander Also referred to as a Greek fret. Geometric running pattern of maze-like squared lines.
Metope The blank or decorated space between the triglyphs of a Doric frieze. Metope Harris.jpg
Miter A joint where the joining edges are cut at an angle equaling half of the corner angle (45° for a 90°corner). Mitered joint Boyce.jpg
Modillion A horizontal bracket or console, usually in the form of a scroll with an acanthus, supporting the corona under a cornice. Modillion TreanorHL.png
Mortise and Tenon A joint composed of a mortise (cavity) and a tenon (projection) that can be executed as a stopped or a through tenon. Mortise-and-tenon joint Harris.jpg
Mutule A sloping, flat block on the soffit of a Doric cornice, usually decorated with rows of six guttae; occurs over each triglyph and each metope of the frieze. Mutule Esther M. Zimmer Lederberg.jpg
Neoclassical A frame with designs and features that harken back to the time of antiquity, particularly that of ancient Rome. They could reference architectural elements. Neoclassical CWF.jpg
Early Neoclassicism' A general period classification of frame styles often narrow, rectilinear or cove-profiled, with restrained ornamentation of classically inspired bead, water leaf, or cable courses.
Late Neoclassicism' These frames were categorized by deeper profiles and bolder taste. They could have extensive ornamentation, aided by the use of pressed compo ornament. The moldings were often wider and heavier. Older frames were sometimes remodeled to fit the neoclassical style. In France, the anthemion and lotus motifs were popular, but they were not widely used in England. Late Neoclassicism Mitchell.jpg
Ogee Molding or element with an S-shaped profile. See Cyma recta. Ogee molding Boyce.jpg
Ogee style First third of the 19th century molding, dominated by a flattened S-curve. Ogee style CWF.jpg
Oil gilding The process of gilding in which the surface is coated with a layer of varnish or oil size. After the varnish or oil surface has partially dried to the desired tack, the gold leaf is applied. The gold is not burnished. Oil gilding watergildstudio.jpg
Ovolo A molding with an approximately quarter-circle convexity. Ovolo Harris.jpg
Palmette Shallow symmetrical cluster of stylized leaves based on palm fronds. Palmette Harris.jpg
Panel frame Late 17th-century molding similar to bunched leaf. The name refers to the flat areas between the running foliage. Panel frame Mitchell.jpg
Parcel gilt A presentation generally contrasting gilt highlights with un-gilt elements. Parcel gilt CWF.jpg
Pastel frame Frame made to house pastels, which has two rabbets: the outermost for glass and inner for the artwork. Pastel frame CWF.jpg
Patera Radially symmetrical floral ornament with petals surrounding a central boss. Paterae Harris.jpg
Pediment The form, usually triangular, carried above the entablature of a classical temple; it may also be semicircular or broken. Pediment Harris.jpg
Pilaster An engaged flat pier or half-pier resembling a column. Pilaster Lounsbury.jpg
Plaster, molded A three-dimensional architectural ornament made from calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate, some late 19th-century frame applications. Plaster Mitchell.jpg
Plate See Frieze. Frieze Harris.jpg
Predella The bottom tier of an altar piece, between the principal panel or base-relief and the altar itself. Predella Art History Glossary.png
Plinth Also referred to as a pedestal. Substructure supporting a column, usually standing forward of the horizontal molding and predella/antependium. Plinth Harris.jpg
Pyramidal molding A variation of a bevel type with the prominent angular top molding. Pyramidal molding CWF.jpg
Quatrefoil A four-lobed shape or aperture. Quatrefoil Harris.jpg
Quirk bead A molding consisting of a bead separated from an adjoining surface. Quirk bead The free dictionary.png
Rabbet Also referred to as a rebate. The recess beneath the sight edge of a frame, intended to receive the framed object. Rabbet CWF.jpg
Reverse A frame type or molding with its highest course on the sight edge. Reverse Template services.jpg
Ribbon and stick A raised, applied, or carved ornament with the appearance of a twisted flat ribbon wound around a narrow dowel. Ribbon and stick Karraker.jpg
Rinceau Also referred to as caliculus. A running ornament of acanthus, lotus foliage, or protruding scrolls and corner ornaments. Rinceau Harris.jpg
Rocaille An 18th-century term for rocklike, wavelike, or other flowing organic curves and piercings. Rocaille The MET.jpg
Rococo Including but not exclusive to swept frames. These often have swept sides and could be very elaborate. Common elements include C-scroll corners and [[#Ogee|ogee] sections. Those made in France by French Huguenot craftsmen are often more organic, sculptural, and three-dimensional than the Rococo frames of England. English frames are more linear and have arrangements of flowers and leaves. Rococo Wikipedia.jpg
Rondel Also see tondo. A circular frame. Rondel CWF.jpg
Rope Molding made of a dowel or portion of a dowel carved to resemble a twisted rope. Rope molding Boyce.jpg
Rosette A stylized, usually round, floral ornament based on the lotus blossom. Rosette Boyce.jpg
Rottenstone A gray powder imitating dirt often used in the artificial patina applied to modern replica frames. Rottenstone CWF.jpg
Rustic Comprising stylized or real unrefined naturalistic elements. Rustic 56th annual Delaware antiques show Winterthur.jpg
Sanded Sand glued onto a surface prior to gilding to create surface texture.
Scroll A volute which curls out of plane, suggesting a partially un-furled paper scroll.
Scotia Concave half-circle molding with bottom projecting beyond the top. Scotia molding Boyce.jpg
Shell This motif is a realistic representation of a clam-like shell. Shell Meyer.jpg
Sight edge The inner edge of the frame adjacent to the picture. Sight edge CWF.jpg
Silver gilt Silver-leaf gilding was popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and then again after the mid-19th century, the latter period often featuring a yellow-toning varnish rendering a pale gold. Scratches in the coating result in black silver sulfide corrosion spots over time. Silver gilt CWF.jpg
Size 1. In reference to gilding a preparatory adhesive layer often oil.

2. A liquid which is applied over wood, plaster, or other porous surfaces to fill pores; reduces the absorption of subsequently applied adhesive or coating.||Size.png

Slip frame The inner, smaller molding fitted into the rabbet of the primary, larger molding for adjusting the opening size. Slip frame CWF.jpg
Soffit The exposed undersurface of any overhead component of a building, such as an arch, balcony, beam, cornice, or lintel. Soffit Harris.jpg
Spandrel Area between an archivolt or shaped opening in its rectangular surround, usually filling the corners of rectangular frames. Spandrel Harris.jpg
Split spindle molding Frame composed of turned forms, half cylinders, of vernacular style. Split spindle molding CWF.jpg
S-scroll An “S” shaped scroll, often partly overlaid by foliage in Rococo frames. S scroll Lockwood.jpg
Stencil gilt Oil gilding technique using bronze powders and stencils, popular in the mid-19th century. Stencil gilt finish CWF.jpg
Stopped fluting The lower portion of a fluted column or pilaster with convexly-filled-in fluting. Stopped fluting CWF.jpg
Strapwork A type of ornament consisting of a narrow fillet or band which is folded, crossed, and interlaced. Strapwork Follansbee.jpg
Stretcher Also called the stretcher frame, this is the primary structure onto which a painting’s canvas is fixed. Stretcher CWF.jpg
Swag Also see Festoon. A draping ornament cluster or cloth fastened at both ends and hanging down in the middle. Swag Lockwood.jpg
Swept A frame type of the Rococo period, especially French in origin, 18th-century period term. Overall curvilinear design with “S” and “C” scrolls. Swept Davis.jpg
Tabernacle A frame characterized by architectonic structural and decorative members, most often based on classical aedicular precedents. Tabernacle Newberry.jpg
Taenia Any small, flat, raised molding. Taenia Ware.jpg
Tondo Also see rondel. A frame with circular sight and back edges. Tondo Davis.jpg
Top edge The molding nearest to the viewer, or the projection farthest from the back of the frame. Top edge CWF.jpg
Torus A half-circle convexity. Torus molding Boyce.jpg
Trefolio An ornamental motif, radially symmetrical, three-lobed, formalized leaf form, usually enclosed by a circle. Trefoils Harris.jpg
Triglyph The vertically channeled tablets of the Doric frieze in classical architecture spaced between metopes. Triglyph Wikipedia.png
Tuscan order A simplified version of the Doric order, having a plain frieze and no mutules in the cornice. Tuscan order Chambers.jpg
Twisted rope An applied three-dimensional molding imitating twisted rope. Twisted Rope CWF.jpg
Tympanum The recessed surface enclosed within the upper and lower cornices of a pediment. Tympanum Harris.jpg
Volute A spiraling, scroll-like ornament. Volute Harris.jpg
Water gilding The process of gilding in which the gesso and bole surface is coated with a solution of gilder’s liquor to activate the glue, followed by a quick laying-on of the gold leaf, and burnished soon after with an agate burnisher. Water gilding Rees.jpg