Defining the Edge

While physical, three-dimensional frames are commonly used to define the edges of paintings, the relationship between framing and prints is less clear. Using works the Barber’s extensive collection, this display looks at the 17th- and 18th-century fashion for frames and borders to be depicted within the printed image. This happened in diverse and creative ways, helping artists to communicate meaning and make references between prints and other artforms.

The depiction of borders and frames within prints is connected to how they would have been collected and displayed in this period. Some prints may have been set in a frame, like a painting, but more commonly they were kept in albums, included in books, or even pinned directly onto a wall. In all these cases, the edge of the image needed to be defined within the print itself.

Accompanying this display is a short trail, with more information into some of the picture frames in the Barber’s paintings galleries. You can find this attached in the ‘frames trail’ section to the right.

28 July – 1 October 2023


Download our Frames Trail