Framing Edwin Deakin, and the East Bay’s Great Painting Heritage

This Saturday, June 9th, our neighbors and good friends at North Point Gallery are opening a show that celebrates the extraordinarily rich painting tradition of our city and region.

Edwin Deakin

Entitled “Historic Artists of the East Bay,” the show runs through June 30, and will feature such outstanding names of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as William Keith, Edwin Deakin, Raymond Dabb Yelland, and Lorenzo Latimer. Alfred Harrison, owner of North Point, is a leading expert on California painting (view his list of books and articles here), and anyone wishing to learn a thing or two on the topic will come away from a visit to the show and a chat with its curator with a new appreciation for the enduring value of these works.

We enjoyed the great privilege of framing a number of paintings in the exhibit, and I will post them, starting today with this beautifully atmospheric scene of Lake Tahoe, done in the 1880’s by Edwin Deakin (1838-1923). Deakin (at right) was born in Sheffield, England but immigrated to Chicago in his teens, and then in his early 30’s came west to San Francisco. Eventually he built a home here in Berkeley, where he lived out his years.

Edwin Deakin, “Lake Tahoe,” 1880’s. Oil on canvas, 16″ x 24.

No. 208 + Cap-328

No. 208 + Cap 328

For this 16″ x 24″ canvas, we made a 3-1/4″ wide Compound Mitered frame, a slope (No. 208 + Cap 328), in quartersawn white oak with Saturated Medieval Oak stain, and a pale gold slip. The profile is very plain to suit the stillness of the scene as well as the masterful perspective of the depiction, but with a couple of elements acknowledging, and alive to, key virtues of the Deakin’s painting: the two fine beads, one near the sight edge and one on the outer cap molding amplify the picture’s fine line work and detail; and the cove form of the cap molding, surmounted by a bevel, is a nod to the wonderfully rendered Sierra mountains that frame the lake. The overall plainness of the profile and wide expanse of unadorned wood complement the fine details in the picture. More importantly, keeping our own shaping of the wood secondary to the inherent beauty of the material subordinates our work to nature’s—the spirit of Deakin’s reverential view of the great wonder that is the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe.

Edwin Deakin, “Samuel Marsden Brookes in his Studio,” 1876. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

I can’t resist including here another Deakin painting (in period, possibly original, oak frame) of his friend and fellow British emigre and painter, Samuel Marsden Brookes (1816 – 1892).

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