custom framing an 1896 crayon portrait

What are we framing this week!

A crayon portrait from 1896!

You may remember the photo we posted a while ago of twins. Our client brought in another crayon portrait of a young child. She wanted to frame the new photograph in a similar frame style to go in another room in her house.

Crayon portraits were made from about 1860 into the early 1900’s. A “soft” photographic image was printed to a matte paper, and the detail was provided by the photographic artist in charcoal or pastel.

The photograph was in a white and gold frame that had some damage to the decorations. The original matting was very acidic, and so brittle it was breaking apart. The photographic paper was glued to the back of the mat, and behind the photo was a newspaper dated 1896, and then a backing of cedar shingle. The client didn’t like the frame, and wanted a more muted mat treatment.

We were able to remove the photo from the mat – pretty tricky as the photograph was also very fragile. The newspaper behind the photo was so fragile you couldn’t pick it up without the paper crumbling.

For the new framing, we picked a fabric mat in a brownish beige grey, with a black inner mat. The frame was a detailed carbon washed silver with a brown undertone. Preservation backing, conservation glazing, and preservation mounting completed the project.

I love to imagine the lives of the people captured in the photographer’s lens. Just think about the stories they could tell us if they could only talk!