Henry Bone: framing enamel paintings
by The Frame Blog
Henry Bone (1755-1834), Bacchus & Ariadne after Titian, 1808-11, enamel on copper, in original gilt-wood and gesso carved frame; 16 x 18 ins (40.5 x 46 cm) , The Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance and Greta Millikin Trust 2013.51
Henry Bone was a prolific painter of enamel panels in the late 18th and early 19th century, creating exceptionally large and elaborate examples of what was considered a miniature genre , becoming the official enamel-painter to three monarchs, and generating public interest (in the work above) on a scale only equalled by Holman Hunt half a century later. The frame of this particular panel, so richly and intricately decorated, and so perfectly attuned to its contents, suggests than Bone himself was involved in the design, although sadly there is no evidence for this, nor for the name of the craftsman who produced it.
18th century inlaid pulpit, St Mary’s Aisle, Truro Cathedral. Photo: Rex Harris
Henry Bone had been born in Truro, in 1755, and his father, interestingly, was
‘a cabinet-maker and carver, who is said to have been a clever workman, and to have carved the old pulpit of St Mary’s Church, Truro’ .
Although St Mary’s was partly demolished in 1880, and the remains of it were incorporated into the new cathedral of Truro, the pulpit seems to have survived in what is now known as ‘St Mary’s Aisle’, showing that, as well as carving, Bone senior was capable of elegant design, marquetry and veneering. This is almost certainly the pulpit Tregellas refers to in the quotation above; it was seen by a Mr Gullard in 1795, who described St Mary’s in his journal:
‘…The inside is excellently preserved and richly ornamented, it has a capital and neat pulpit…’ .
Bone, therefore, grew up in the lee of a carver’s and menuisier’s workshop, and must have had a very good understanding of the possibilities of the craft.
He did not enter his father’s trade, however; when he was twelve his family moved to Plymouth, perhaps so that the elder Bone could take advantage of the need for all kinds of woodworkers in the shipyards there. At sixteen, Henry Bone was apprenticed to a chemist and man of various talents, William Cookworthy, who owned an apothecary’s shop in Plymouth. His apprenticeship was not in this area, however, but in the decorative art resulting from Cookworthy’s rather obsessional hunt for the secret of porcelain manufacture. A basic account of this had been smuggled out of China and published in 1736, but porcelain manufacture only became possible in England with Cookworthy’s discovery of china clay deposits in Cornwall in 1748, and only practicable after two decades during which he experimented with the material and processes. By the time Bone started to decorate Cookworthy’s products, the Plymouth Porcelain Factory had been established for several years, Cookworthy having patented his method of making china in 1768. The last firing of the kiln, however, seems to have taken place just before Bone’s apprenticeship, in 1770; the factory was moved to Bristol shortly after he was bound to Cookworthy, and he spent seven years in the Bristol Porcelain Works,
‘…working from six in the morning to six in the evening in the factory, and after that improving himself in the art of drawing. It is considered that the best painting executed at the Bristol Works was by Bone…’ 
Henry Bone (attrib.), Sauce-tureen, cover & stand, 1770-81, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London; currently on display in the Ceramics Gallery
Cookworthy retired in 1773, selling his share of his business to his cousin, Richard Champion, who had become foreman of the Bristol factory; however, Champion was bankrupted by a patent struggle with the Staffordshire potteries, and was forced to close in 1778. In 1779, therefore, Bone made his way to London, where he worked as an enamel painter (of ‘…watch-cases, shirt-buttons, brooches, pins, lockets, &c…’) for a wholesale jewellers, Randle, Jackson & White, at 45 Paternoster Row . He started to produce enamel portraits and paintings in his spare time, using a knowledge of chemistry related to Cookworthy’s own to extend the size, subtlety and scope of the medium. His first exhibited work, at the Royal Academy in 1780, was a portrait of his wife (which sadly seems to have disappeared); it received a lot of attention for its large size – unlike contemporary coin-sized miniature pendants, it was 2 ½ inches high.
Henry Bone, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, Archibald Montgomerie, 11th Earl of Eglinton, pencil drawing squared in ink for transfer, 1797 (1783-1784) NPG D17258 © National Portrait Gallery, London
Bone spent twelve years earning an income from decorating jewellery and painting fans, until in 1792 he was able to move to a small house in Hanover Street, off Hanover Square, and to take up painting miniature portraits as a career. He painted from life onto ivory supports, copying these in enamel; he also copied in enamel portraits and subject paintings by living artists, one of which, a miniature of Lord Eglinton after Reynolds (squared sketch above), was seen by the Prince of Wales at the Royal Academy, transforming Bone’s career.
Henry Bone, after Sir William Beechey, Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), s.& d. 1799, RCIN 401374.© Royal Collection Trust
The Prince began to acquire Bone’s non-commissioned enamel paintings, and was soon commissioning his own. One of the earliest of these is a miniaturized copy of a portrait of his mother, Queen Charlotte, by Beechey, executed by Bone in 1799. This has been given a very striking version of a ‘Carlo Maratta’ outer frame (bound imbricated bay leaf torus at the top edge, knulled astragal with leaf corners, and a leaf ogee at the sight edge).
Henry Bone, Queen Charlotte, detail, RCIN 401374.© Royal Collection Trust
Within this is an ormolu frame consisting of a bound bay leaf-&-berry moulding, topped with a trophy of the British coat of arms and supporters on a rayed sunburst, set against a black ground. The pendant portrait of the Queen’s husband, George III, was painted in 1801, a year after Bone had been appointed enamel-painter to the Prince of Wales, and the same year he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy. The interval between the portraits and their identical settings indicates that they were probably framed together for the Prince, in or after after 1801, using a clockmaker or jeweller and probably one of the framemakers who worked for the Royal family.
Henry Bone, after Sir Thomas Lawrence, George IV, enamel, 6 ¾ ins (17 cm) h., s. & d. 1820, MIN0093. Burghley House
The maker of at least one of the ormolu frames for Bone’s enamel portraits is known; this is the trophy frame on the version of his portrait of George IV after Thomas Lawrence, now in the collection of Burghley House. The portrait was commissioned by the king, framed by the Royal goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, and presented to the Duke of Wellington’s brother, Richard, Lord Wellesley, in 1821, presumably on his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Bone could have had no share in designing this frame; it is purely official, attributive of the monarchy, and plays the same part that carved wooden frames played on those full-size coronation portraits of the current king which were presented to ambassadors and courtiers . Although the structure of this frame is almost the simplest possible, it is extremely rich in its decoration, all of which is emblematic:
‘The decoration of the frame features a pierced chain of the Order of the Garter, the spandrels show the badges of the Orders of St. Andrew, St. Patrick, the Bath and the Hanoverian Order of the Guelph, the border is decorated with shamrock, thistle and rose and the crowned orb surmount is flanked by the lion and unicorn.’ 
The manufacture of this frame has been linked to Rundell & Bridge through an entry in George IV’s accounts in the Royal Archives for 11 July 1821:
‘A very large enamelled Picture of His Majesty in Metal gilt border with gilt frame and Crown at top 120 guineas’ 
Rundell and Bridge will almost certainly have made other ormolu frames in the Royal Collection, such as the crowned anthemion frame on Bone’s 1800 portrait of Queen Charlotte after Henry Edridge.
Before Bone – and indeed after him – the frames of miniature paintings (watercolour, oil or enamel) tended to be framed rather like the portrait of George IV (if they were official and of symbolic importance), or as jewels, i.e. lockets (if they were very small); or they were set in reduced versions of earlier frame styles . For example, Ozias Humphry’s portrait of Hyder Beg Khan from 1786 (V & A) has an ormolu Louis XV straight-sided frame, as does Charles Ross’s portrait of Mrs Bacon, from more than half a century later (1841) .
Henry Bone, after Reynolds, Lady Gertrude Fitzpatrick, enamel, 1810, M20. Wallace Collection
Two portraits by Bone in the Wallace Collection also exemplify this last method: the miniatures of the Ladies Anne and Gertrude Fitzpatrick have been set in wood and compo bay leaf-&-berry frames which do not seem to find any echoes with other works by Bone, and may date from when they were acquired by the Marquess of Hertford (1777-1842).
There is no way of telling to what extent Bone participated in the framing of many of the works commissioned from him, but some of the contemporary styles of frames on those, for example, in The Royal Collection demonstrate a desire to increase the closeness of the enamel replica to the work from which it was copied by setting it in a miniaturized version of a current picture frame, rather than a crude simulacrum of an historic style.
Henry Bone, after Domenichino, St Agnes, s & d 1806, RCIN 404270.© Royal Collection
This is demonstrated by a slightly later group of commissions for the Prince of Wales, disparate in subject-matter, but with almost identical frames. These are the portrait of Lord Nelson after Hoppner (1805), the portrait of Admiral Lord St Vincent after Beechey (also 1805) and the St Agnes (above) after Domenichino (1806). They are all set in Empire-style fluted scotia frames, with projecting acanthus corners and the Prince of Wales’s feathers inset in the corners of the scotia. The rather well-used condition of the St Agnes enables us to see that this large work (13 inches, or 33 cms high; the two warriors are smaller, at 8 ¼ inches high) has been given a normal picture frame – a wooden carcase decorated with composition ornament, now brittle and breaking away. St Agnes was evidently regarded as a work which (as the ornament proved) might be handled quite frequently, either as a portable sacred image, or for purposes of connoisseurship, since she has been fitted with an ingenious and very neat glazed door bounded by the inner feather moulding, which is hinged on the right and employs one of the feathers as a raised catch. A very similar frame, without the Prince of Wales’s feathers or the lower two acanthus corners, contains Henry Bone’s Madonna del latte after Correggio of 1811 . These are highly fashionable patterns from the early 19th century, and are an index (if one were needed) as to the value set on Bone’s work by his Royal patron, as well as the wish to increase the relationship of the small enamel to the large original painting.
Henry Bone, Henry Carey, Lord Hunsden (1524?-96), after British School, 1800, NT 1250524. © Kingston Lacy Estate. Photo: Simon Harris
The frames for his portrait enamels used by Bone himself probably include those on the majority of the large group of historic figures in the collection at Kingston Lacy. These are mainly portraits of Elizabethans (such as Lord Hunsden, above), and come from an original set of eighty-five, forming part of his own collection – which Bone had offered to sell to the nation for £4,000 just before his death in 1834. Although the collection had been valued at £10,000, the offer was refused, and it was dispersed after his death through a number of auction sales between 1836 and 1856 . William Bankes of Kingston Lacy bought fifty of the historic portraits at the first auction at Christie’s on 22 April 1836, and they have remained in the drawing-room there since the early 1840s. Most of them are in small wood and gesso NeoClassical scotia frames, around the flat ormolu mount invariably used by Bone, with an ovolo chain on the top edge and a leaf tip on the ogee at the sight edge. Their claim to be his own choice is supported by the fact that other enamels which were purchased from the 1836 sale by different clients have identical frames – for instance, three portraits of Sir Thomas Smythe after Hans Holbein, Sir Walter Raleigh after Cornelius Johnson, Elizabeth Carey, and a fourth of either Christian IV or Henry Somerset, which were purchased by the 5th Earl of Lanesborough. These remained in the family collection until January this year (2015). This type of frame is contemporary (first quarter of the 19th century), suggesting that the portraits associated with it were probably framed by Bone together (they were painted over a period of twenty years or so), possibly when he decided to offer his collection to the nation.
Henry Bone, Sir Henry Sidney after Arnold van Bronckorst, c.1822, NT 1250543. © Kingston Lacy Estate. Photo: Simon Harris
Some of the Bankes collection, however, are framed in very different Rococo Revival patterns (above) , and – if they are also Bone’s choices – it is difficult to see any internal logical reason for the difference. These curvaceous and flowery frames, ornamented with compo, may therefore perhaps be the choice of Henry Pierce Bone: Bone’s eldest son and (like him) a painter of enamels. Support for this theory may be found in the related (but not identical) Rococo Revival frames on Henry Pierce Bone’s own enamel portraits – on Edmund Spenser, Kingston Lacy, Sir Hugh Myddelton, 1822, V & A, and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, 1852, V & A.
Henry Bone, Venus & Cupid after Veronese, 1819, NT 1250577. © Kingston Lacy Estate. Photo: Simon Harris
One outstanding example amongst the Kingston Lacy Rococo-style frames might however still be a pattern designed or chosen by Henry Bone himself; this is the Venus & Cupid after Veronese, of 1819. It is a subject painting rather than a portrait, and the frame is attributive; it is decorated with scallop shells, one of the emblems of Venus. The frames which were created for Bone’s subject paintings are individually singular and extraordinarily decorative, whilst their appropriateness for the images they enclose (as with the Venus & Cupid) makes them as a group much more likely to owe their design to Bone himself. This is based on the fact that the frame of his major and largest work, the copy after Titian’s Bacchus & Ariadne at the head of this article, was created not on commission, but on spec: exhibited by Bone at his house, and finally sold to a buyer by the artist (see below).
From A catalogue of miniature portraits in enamel by Henry Bone: in the collection of the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, 1825; illustration between pages 30 & 31
In parenthesis, the Duke of Bedford’s 28 family portraits by Bone were framed in a similar design to the Venus & Cupid, but with a plain frieze in the scotia, and a background of crimson velvet (above).
Henry Bone, The death of Dido after Reynolds, s.&d. 1804, enamel on copper, 25.1 x 33.8 cm, RCIN 404284. © Royal Collection Trust.
In 1804 Bone made one of his earlier large subject paintings – an enamel copy of Reynolds’s The death of Dido for the Prince of Wales. The frame is as dramatic as the composition: it is basically a NeoClassical pattern with bound fasces on the top edge and scrolling foliage on the frieze. The corners, however, have been extended diagonally outwards in large projecting loops, which each hold a classical harp and two crossed torches, and are entwined with two snakes. The crest is a voluted swan’s neck pediment, holding the Prince of Wales’s feathers at the centre (the Prince had commissioned this work from Bone in 1804, and only acquired the 1775-81 original by Reynolds in 1821). The attributes at the corners show that the designer of the frame was aware of the imagery of the Aeneid, from which this scene is taken.
Henry Bone, The death of Dido after Reynolds, detail of top right corner
Snakes abound in the poem, as harbingers of death and attributes of Alecto, one of the Furies or Erinyes, who is charged by Juno with wreaking havoc amongst the Trojans. Aeneas was, of course, a Trojan, and the snakes on the frame symbolize not only the death of Dido after he abandoned her, but the curse she laid on him as she died. The crossed torches may be extinguished torches of love, torches of war, or the actual torches which light Dido’s funeral pyre. They are laid over a spray of three poppy heads, standing for the sleep of death. Harps played at the feast where Aeneas first told Dido his story, but with his departure they are silent and out of tune.
Henry Bone, Bacchus & Ariadne after Titian, 1811, Cleveland Museum of Art
In the light of the frame for The death of Dido, the frame for Bacchus & Ariadne can be seen to be cast in the same mould (as it were), and deriving from the same imaginative vocabulary. Both have fundamentally similar profiles, and a similar use of repeated parallel runs of ornament; both have swan’s neck pediments, articulated by flattened scrolls and centred on a branched motif. Both have prominent corners, and both use emblems or attributes to identify the characters in the paintings and enlarge upon what is happening in the particular scene. Where the Dido frame has scrolling acanthus foliage and fasces, which can be seen as more Roman motifs, the Bacchus frame has repeated runs of anthemia (or honeysuckle flowers) and palmettes, which are Greek.
Henry Bone, Bacchus & Ariadne after Titian, crest of frame with double thyrsus
The scallop shells of Aphrodite on the Venus frame, and the snakes of Alecto on the Dido frame, are replaced by Bacchus’s thyrsus , threaded through the scrolls on the pediment and bound with a vine leaf. The top corners are decorated with garlands of vine leaves, like those worn in the painting, and they frame the heads of leopards, like those which pull the chariot of Bacchus. The whole object is structured as a pagan version of a Renaissance altarpiece, which was itself of course based on the silhouette of a classical temple. It provides an incredibly rich and opulent setting for Bone’s enamel, setting off the saturated colours like the setting for some exotic jewel.
Henry Bone, Bacchus & Ariadne after Titian, with glazing door open
It is, like others of Bone’s frames, made of wood and gesso, and the detail of the ornament is extraordinarily fine: so fine, that, behind the integral glazing door, which is hinged and snibbed unobtrusively on the raised plain moulding outside the sight edge, there is another ornamental sight edge with a delicate centred garland of vine leaves.
You would only see this beautiful addition should the owner of the work offer to open the door and let you, as a true connoisseur, examine Bone’s craftsmanship closely, without the protective layer of glass in place.
Since Bone worked as official painter in enamel to George III (from 1801), George IV (from 1800 when Prince of Wales), and later William IV, and would have known which framemakers were patronized by the Royal family, it is logical to conclude that he would have chosen one of these to frame his largest and most striking enamel panel, and one which he hoped that the Prince of Wales might buy. He would also have wanted the best of carvers and gilders in order for the ornamental detail he required to be executed with sufficient skill and refinement. Thanks to Jacob Simon’s tireless work on the Directory of British Picture Framemakers, it is possible to discover that amongst the framemakers to the Prince of Wales in the early years of the century were Robert Cribb, Fricker & Henderson, Charles Salmon (perhaps the earliest of these to supply the Prince of Wales and the King), and Edward Wyatt (who made trophy frames for portraits of naval heroes in 1808, for the then George IV). Charles Salmon was probably the nearest to Bone’s house in Berner’s Street in 1811. These craftsmen are relevant, not only for frames made in the 1800s for the Prince, but because of the particular and outstanding interest of the Bacchus & Ariadne frame; unfortunately, any framer’s label or invoice is long gone.
Henry Bone, Bacchus & Ariadne after Titian, ivy leaf roundel with leopard head
Bone unveiled his Bacchus & Ariadne on 15th January 1811, showing it privately to ‘several of his friends and patrons’ , one of whom was Joseph Farington, who recorded the event in his diary:
‘High Prices for Enamels Bone I called on & saw His large enamel of ‘Bacchus & Ariadne’ from Titian. It was fixed in a sumptuous frame which He supposed wd. Cost more than £100. – He told me He should not dispose of this enamel for less than two thousand guineas. – He sd. He had had it in hand three years, working upon it occasionally. He told me that for an enamel of a much smaller size a copy from a picture by Leonard Da Vinci, Lord Suffolk paid him 600 guineas.’ 
Two days later Farington saw an Academician called Dawe who wanted to discuss the coming election of new members of the RA; Farington told him that,
‘I cd. not hear what He had to say, having been informed of His having spoken to members of the illegality of electing Bone, as not being a painter of original pictures but a copyist’ .
Farington snubbed Dawe for this; the memory of the Bacchus & Ariadne would have been so fresh in his imagination that more than the ‘impropriety’ of Dawe’s behaviour must have moved him. Bone was elected a Royal Academician on 11 February.
On May 1st Bone called on Farington to report that,
‘He had sold His enamel picture, 18 Inches by 16 in size, of Bacchus & Ariadne… The Price at which He sold it is 2200 guineas including the Frame, which leaves Him a clear receipt of something more than 2000 guineas. Not having been able to exhibit it [at the Royal Academy] on acct. of it being left with the Prince of Wales for His Royal Highnesses inspection, He said that He should exhibit it for a time at His own House, & shd. issue cards for that purpose.-’ 
Morning Post, 23 May 1811
This is what Bone went on to do, and ‘it was viewed by more than 4000 persons, who were admitted gratuitously by tickets’ . On Thursday 23rd May, the Morning Post reported that the exhibition must end on the 25th, as ‘the proprietor’ wanted it – in other words, the new owner. This was George Bowles, of The Grove, Wanstead in Essex, who collected both portraits and subject paintings by Bone. When he died a few years later he left his collection to his niece, Anne Rushout, in whose house (?) the Bacchus & Ariadne can be seen in its frame, in a watercolour of c.1830 (on the left, on the chimneypiece), which was sold at Christie’s in 2014.
Henry Bone, Bacchus & Ariadne after Titian, reverse of frame
With grateful thanks to all those who have helped with information and images for this article: Cory Korkow, Cleveland Museum of Art; Alessandro Nasini, Royal Collection; Jon Culverhouse, Burghley House; James Grasby, Kingston Lacy; Jon Slight, Wallace Collection.
 Inscibed on the reverse (the white-coloured ‘counter enamel’): “painted by Henry Bone R.A. Enamel painter in Ordinary to His Majesty and Enamel painter to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, after the Original by Titian in the Collection of the Rt: Honble: Lord Kinnaird &c &c &c.____ This Picture the most celebrated amongst the Bacchanalian Subjects of Titian (when patronis’d by Alphonso Duke of Ferrara) was ultimately brought to this Country from the Villa Aldobrandini in Rome in 1806, from whence it was imported by Willm. Buchanan Esq.____ Size of the Original 6 feet 2 inches, by 5 —- 10 —- This Enamel picture w[as] began July 30th 1808 and finish’d March 1811. ___ (HB. Elected a Royal Academician Feby. 11th 1811)”. William Buchanan was an 18th-19th century art dealer, who was himself very sensitive to the effect of a frame upon a painting.
This enamel by Bone was at one time owned by the National Gallery, London; with thanks for this information to Art History News.
 ‘The larger the plaque, the greater the potential for warping, and even cracking, at high temperatures. The technical difficulties associated with greater size made it a challenge which was taken up by some artists, from Jean Petitot to Charles Boit and Henry Bone, with varying degrees of success. Boit’s largest successful miniature, made in 1703, was 36 x 46 cm (14 x 18 in). He was unable to execute one of 46 x 72 cm (18 x 28 in). About 100 years later, Bone’s largest enamel was a copy of Titian’s Bacchus & Ariadne, measuring 40.5 x 46 cm (16 x 18 in).’ Sarah Coffin & Bodo Hofstetter, The Gilbert Collection: Portrait miniatures in enamel, 2000, p. 9.
 Walter H. Tregellas, Cornish worthies: Sketches of some eminent Cornish men and families, 1884, p.161.
 Tregellas, op. cit., p.162.
 The Annual Biography and Obituary, 1836, vol. XX, p.476, reprinted in The Literary Gazette & Belles Lettres, vol.XX, p.35. Henry Bone’s obituary was probably written by one of his sons.
 See Jacob Simon, ‘Allan Ramsay & picture frames’, The Burlington Magazine, vol.136, 1994, pp. 444-55.
 Information kindly supplied by Jon Culverhouse, Curator of Burghley House.
 This is to exclude enamel paintings inset into decorative metal boxes, which usually include some sort of framing device.
 See Katherine Coombs, The portrait miniature in England, V & A, 1998.
 Henry Bone, after Correggio, Madonna del latte, s.& d. 1811, Sotheby’s New York, 11 December 2014. This was painted for George Bowles, who also owned the copy after Titian’s Bacchus & Ariadne; see below; hence it does not of course have the Prince’s feathers in the corners. It does, however, have a similar glazing door, hinged on the right, although here there is a keyhole beyond the feather moulding.
 Tregellas, op. cit., p.165.
 Sir Henry Sidney, the double portrait of Sir John Bankes and his wife, Thomas Sackville, Lady Russell, Sir Thomas Egerton; all Kingston Lacy; all in swept Rococo Revival frames. Sir Francis Walsingham, Lady Sidney, Dr Thomas Wilson and Robert Dudley; all Kingston Lacy; all in straight-edged Régence Revival frames.
 The thyrsus is the rod topped by a pine cone carried by Dionysos (or Bacchus) and by his followers; it is used in Bacchic dances and rites, and was also the means by which Bacchus transformed people and objects, such as the pirate ship which captured him when he was young, and which he converted into living vine wood, which sprouted leaves and grapes.
 The Literary Gazette…, op. cit., p.36.
 Ibid. Bone had previously spoken to Farington (22 December 1810) of other artists’ opposition to his election, believing that they were envious of the Prince of Wales patronizing him; he pointed out that he had painted miniatures from life for a long period, and was not just a copyist. He added that the Prince received him graciously and added, ‘Were I a rich man I wd. rather work for the Prince for nothing than for many others for money.’ He also noted that the Prince had 16 of his works in one room ‘besides others’. Ibid., p. 212-13.
 Ibid., 1 May 1811, p. 266. Farington headlined this piece of news ‘2,200 Guineas for a Copy’.
 The Literary Gazette…, op. cit. Bone lived at 15 Berners Street, which runs north from Oxford Street and was home to other artists such as Opie (who painted Bone’s portrait, NPG) and Fuseli, and the architect Sir William Chambers.