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Picture Frame, Tramp Art

ca. 1900
Origin: America
OH: 12 3/4"; OW: 9 5/8"; OD: 2 1/8"
Wood
Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Alton R. Sharp, Jr.
Acc. No. 1982.708.1
"Tramp Art" rectangular frame with scalloped sides, top, and base. Frame decoration formed of seven levels of chip carved wood in pyrimidical geometric and abstract shapes including a heart at the center of the top. Central opening, scalloped along top edge, straights sides and bottom with canted bottom corners, beveled with gold or bronze paint.
Label:Some of the most popular forms decorated with notch carving were picture and mirror frames. Picture frames do not have openings of standard sizes, and probably were created to hold specific pictures.

The makers embellished the frames to such an extent that the end product competed with the image it surrounded. This frame gets its eye-catching appearance from the use of not only geometric and heart-shaped designs, but also different colored woods. Cigar boxes were commonly made of mahogany and cedar, but other scrap woods were used along with stains to create the multi-colored effect. Further color comes from the gold paint covering both the outer and inner rims.