By Maureen O’Connor, Tru Vue® Marketing Manager

When an customer of Oliver Brothers in Beverly, Massachusetts brought in an antique map of battles and invasions in England and Ireland from the Norman Conquest (1066) to the Spanish Armada (1588), award-winning conservation framer, Mira Bishop, knew the project would require an extremely custom approach in order to make both sides of the nearly 400-year-old document visible.

Though Mira previously has framed “in the round,” she created a specific design for every little detail for this 17th-century map. The frame by Goldleaf Framemakers of Santa Fe is gilded on both sides, which added time to the project due to the need to complete one side before moving to the next. The mats on each side are hand wrapped with silk fabric, and the bevels are also gilded. The gold tone of the gilding complements the rich colors that have survived the test of time.

gilded standing picture frame with base

Front of the map. The free standing design makes it easy to view both sides.

For display and protection, the entire piece is glazed with Tru Vue® Optium Museum Acrylic®. Mira chose it not only for its degree of protection but also because its reflection-free surface allows maximum enjoyment of the colors and fine detail. Also being an acrylic glazing Optium is lightweight helping to reduce the weight of the overall piece.

“Right away, I recommended Optium Museum Acrylic because it provides 99% UV protection, is shatterproof, and offers unparalleled clarity,” said Mira. “It really is the highest-quality glazing available and was the best choice for a piece like this.”

Even with glazing on both sides of the piece, one of the obvious challenges of framing in the round is display. Without a back side to install hardware, plus the desire to show both sides of the piece without having to handle it, options are limited. Mira worked with Goldleaf Framemakers to create a base for the frame to allow for the dual-sided display.


Because of the weight of the piece, the base needed to be quite heavy and sturdy. There are two bolts through the base and into the frame to keep the frame solidly in place.

“The project could be called ‘beyond custom,’ due to how complicated it was to make this piece truly special,” said Mira. “Yet, the hard work was very much worth it, and we were so excited to show the customer how well it turned out.”

Mira will be showing detailed photos of the frame as well as the assembly process during her presentation, “THE DESIGN PROCESS | BEING SUCCESSFUL WITH CLOSED CORNER FRAMES” (sponsored by Crescent Cardboard) at FRAMECON 2020. FRAMECON 2020 is organized by the New England Professional Picture Framers Association (NEPPFA) and takes place June 7th and 8th, in Worcester, MA. Tru Vue is a sponsor of the NEPPFA. Click here for more details.

Custom Framing an Antique Map

View of the reverse. Both sides of the frame are gilded.


Art + Framing Today  Magazine cover

Double sided custom picture frame for an antique map

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antique map custom frame

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Contact Oliver Brothers or call us to schedulle an appointment at 617-536-2323

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