With the Barbizon frame working as a comparison, further research into its details was essential and profile, scale and ornamentation all needed to be considered when constructing new frame in the same style. Such Barbizon frames are identifiable by ogee profile with a flat slip area and front and back burnished hollows, with applied ornamentation, such as leaves or berries, showing variations from frame to frame.
The large ogee area is the main focus for this frame with a cross-hatched or hassled surface and large heavy leaf or vine ornament applied. From these elements, the cross-hatching is the area which gathers differing opinions from frame makers and frame conservators in terms of the method and technique used to produce the surface design.
Following this, we had numerous conversations with colleagues from galleries and workshops and, though none had constructed this type of period frame (though had worked on restoration), the consensus was that crosshatching should be carried out by carving into thick gesso layers before the ornament was applied. This technique was certainly used in eighteenth and early nineteenth century frames but, on closer inspection, some of the surfaces of later frames had a more mechanical appearance. Knowing the label on the Maris frame showed it was factory made, we set off to find out what other methods, if any, might be used to produce a crosshatching effect.