A Discourse on Frames

Next Tuesday at 6:30 the Gallery proudly hosts British historian and independent cultural scholar Nicholas Friend, who will give an illustrated lecture called “A Discourse on Frames.” Nick Friend was educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and specializes in the history of architecture and the fine and decorative arts. For 25 years he directed Cambridge University’s Art History Summer School. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has lectured at the National Gallery, the British Museum and Sotheby’s. In 1986 he and his wife Louise founded Inscape, one of London’s leading cultural societies dedicated to interdisciplinary teaching in the arts. Last year they founded The North Berkeley Forum.

Nicholas Friend

Nick is in the process of immigrating to the U.S., and will be settling in Berkeley—a city whose culture he’s taken to and adopted with enormous enthusiasm. Turns out he’s quite an aficionado of frames, and this is a talk he’s has given in London. Nick describes his talk this way:

It’s said that ‘A picture without a frame is like a soul without a body.’ A complementary frame enhances the artist’s private dialogue with the canvas. In this talk we will examine the functions and attributes of frames using an art historical approach. We will include prehistoric cave paintings framed by natural features in the rock, framing borders on Attic pots and Pompeian painted walls, architectonic Renaissance ‘tabernacle’ frames, swirling Rococo frames, and iconic Impressionist masterpieces framed for the dealer’s shop. We conclude with contemporary frames which have been rendered as responsive works of art in their own right.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Nick, a very kind and generous as well as wise soul. In December, 2015 I moderated a conversation between him and Clive Wilmer, Master of the Guild of St George, on William Morris’s News From Nowhere, which we held at Bernard Maybeck’s wonderful First Church of Christ Scientist. (Blog post on that is here.) Nick and I are also now sharing duties leading the Hillside Club Round Table , a monthly reading and discussion group that explores the original ideals and animating spirit of Berkeley’s historic Hillside Club.

“A Discourse on Frames”, again, starts and 6:30, and will run till about 9:00, with refreshments. I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say, and hope very much that you will come!


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