Benjamin Williams Leader, “The Wetterhorn from Rosenlaui”

1875. Oil on canvas, 72″ x 60″. Framed in No. 1100 CV Points + Cap 1 — 6″, in quartersawn white oak (Medieval Oak stain), with gilt oak liner.

Before re-framing

Before re-framing

At 72″ x 60″, this spectacular 19th century Alpine landscape oil painting by British artist Benjamin Williams Leader (1831 – 1923) has a powerful presence (see last photo for scale). Commissioned by a Member of Parliament, John Derby Allcroft, the year it was painted it was displayed at the Royal Academy, where Leader’s work was shown in every summer exhibition from 1854 through 1922.

For this piece we made a 6″ wide stained quartersawn white oak compound frame with a chamfered mortise-and-tenon flat and gilt oak liner. The chamfer has carved points that articulate the corners with a detail that also picks up a form pervasive in the painting.

Clearly influenced by John Ruskin‘s pleas to painters to go to nature, to see her both truly and reverently—and sharing with Ruskin a passion for the Swiss Alps—Leader contributed in his way to the great project of re-framing art, led by Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites. I wonder if, while breaking with convention on the canvas itself, he followed the Pre-Raphaelites, Whistler and others to make his ideals real in the form of the picture frame itself (the exhibition frame it was in, at right, may or may not have been original, or the choice of the artist). If so, I hope our efforts would have met with his approval.