A Very Good Quality c.1860 French Bois Durci Mourning Picture Frame

Origin: French
Period: Mid Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1855-65
Height: 8.5 inches
Width: 6.5 inches (all at maximum)

The finely moulded Bois Durci mourning picture frame with neo-classical motifs including urns flanked by two winged putti in high relief, the aperture glazed and containing a reproduction Victorian post mortem photographic portrait, the whole surviving from mid nineteenth century France.

The frame is in very good order with no chips or cracks. The whole frame is in original condition with the glass and backing plate all as it should be.
One of the earliest picture frames was discovered in an Egyptian tomb dating from the 2nd century AD. A Fayum mummy portrait in a wooden frame was discovered at a burial site in Hawara. Archeologists believe that the wooden frame suggests the portrait was hung in the owner’s home prior to burial.

Bois Durci, is a hard, highly polishable composition, made of fine sawdust from hard wood mixed with blood, and pressed. Charles Le Page took out the first patents for Bois durci in France, Belgium and England in 1855. The products were retailed by Alfred Latry who took over the patents in 1859 and set up the Société du Bois Durci and began  himself manufacturing in the material in 1859.  In 1870 the patents ran out and several manufacturers went into business. Especially significant was Ambroise Chevalier who moved his business to Sézanne in the north east of France in 1883, where manufacturing continued until 1926.

Blood and sawdust has never been so appealing.