Auricular Style: Frames – a conference; 2016

by The Frame Blog

This is a call for papers to be presented at a conference entitled Auricular Style: Frames, which will be convened on 5-6 October 2016 in the lecture theatre of the Wallace Collection, London.

Convenors: Gerry Alabone (Tate / City & Guilds of London Art School) & Lynn Roberts (The Frame Blog) in association with the Institute of Conservation (Gilding & Decorative Surfaces Group).

Ham House 2 ed

After Sir Anthony van Dyck, Self-portrait with sunflower (circa 1675-7), Ham House © National Trust images

Call for Papers

‘Auricular Style: Frames’ Conference

5th & 6th October, 2016, the Wallace Collection, London.

This two-day international conference will be the first dedicated to the Auricular style, centring on one of its most significant manifestations, the picture frame. The conference aims to stimulate awareness & study of this important but neglected style by bringing together research in fine & decorative art histories. It will consider the origins & development of the style in different materials, together with its dissemination between European centres. The conference will explore how other areas of the decorative & applied arts fed into the creation of picture frames, & were in their turn nourished through the influence of these sculptural objects.

Fourteen speakers are anticipated, & currently include Karen Hearn (University College London), Jacob Simon (National Portrait Gallery), Hubert Baija (Rijksmuseum), Daniela Roberts (University of Würzburg), Allison Stielau (McGill University) & Ada de Wit (Radboud University / Wallace Collection). Displays to run simultaneously with the conference are planned with the Guildhall Art Gallery, & Ham House, London.

Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, connections between countries (Italy, France, Bohemia, the Netherlands, Britain, Germany & Scandinavia); the Van Vianens; Fontainebleau; the grotesque; ‘Medici’ frames; the influence of prints; Auricular settings; craftsmanship; the style’s decline & its revivals. Poster presentations exhibited during the conference will be edited with the papers & published, fully illustrated, for free download on Auricular Style: Frames, which it is hoped will become a hub for future related research.

Enquiries & submissions (300-400 word abstracts as Word documents) to

Deadline for submissions: 29th January, 2016.

Registration free for speakers & poster contributors. Agreed travel & accommodation expenses reimbursed for speakers.


The Frame Blog will be running an online exhibition as part of the ‘Auricular Style: Frames’ project. This will function as a continuously-updated post, consisting of images to do with any and all aspects of the Auricular style, although with a bias towards frames.

The entry for each object should comprise a clear overall image with a corner detail, and additional images if required; these should be sent as high-resolution jpegs, although they will only be published in the reduced form of 1200 pixels or less on the longer side. Whilst it is understood that information on the objects included may be incomplete, the caption for the frame should ideally take this form:



Relationship to painting (if a frame, & if known, such as commissioning patron, carver & gilder, precise date); other conventional facts on maker & date, depending upon item.

Materials (i.e. water gilding on carved wood [pine]; gilded leather; silverwork, etc. )

Sight-size dimensions (if a frame) in cm; other conventional measurements, depending upon item.

Short description (approx. 150 words) including – if a frame – construction (i.e. solid members with mitred half-lap corners), ornament, and any significant changes to the structure (i.e. extended/cut-down, re-gilded etc.).  Any other significant information, depending upon item.