Generally speaking, there are two differing classes of frames - the wide and heavy ones naturally appropriate to the solid medium of oil-oolour and the lighter and slenderer mouldings used for water-colours, prints, and the like.

The good manufacturers of mouldings have eschewed the debased styles so prevalent a few years ago and excellent frames are now procurable. Very probably Whistler, who designed for his own pictures admirable frames, simple in line but sufficiently ornamental, was the leader in this reform, and the return to period styles has also had great influence (Plates 115 and 116). Bright and flashy gilt frames are now a thing of the past and duller gold is almost universally used. In this respect the pendulum occasionally swings too far and a little more life would be permissible. We should remember that the walls of our rooms are seldom so strongly lighted as the framers' shops and due allowance should be made. Some mouldings are so greatly dulled that when placed in their intended positions we find that too much decorative value has been lost.

This brings us to the question of what the decorative value of the picture in its frame should be. It is a decorative unit, and in size, apparent weight, character, colour, etc., it should neither jump into undue prominence nor be so unobtrusive as to sink into oblivion. If a decorator errs it is likely to be in the direction of suppressing the picture-unit in favour of his general decorative scheme; if the artist errs it is usually in exalting it at the expense of the ensemble; there is a ditch on each side of the road, but it is not necessary to fall into either. In trying mouldings against a picture the attempt should therefore be made to visualise the combined picture and frame in the actual position they are to occupy.