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The Art of Framing

I have often wondered whether a frame tends to bring out the beauty of a picture or painting or was it just meant to take a backseat and allow the picture or painting to only take the lime light. Reminds me of that saying by Hafiz, a Persian poet, “Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky”.

Are frames not that way – without a frame we would not have a support for hanging or placing our art, painting etc. yet the frame is always present but yet rarely admired and yet it is the support and backbone and an integral part of everyone’s home, whether it is used in the Altar or to frame art, photographs, posters, the children`s masterpieces and so much more. Quite an unsung hero.

That got me wanting to find out about the origin and history of frames, with a quick Google search I found that origin and the history does make some amazing reading.

Brief History

So, where did it start? It has been said, that picture frames have been in existence since the 2nd century based on a discovery made in an Egyptian tomb of a Mummy portrait, that till this day is still well preserved. It was said that the early frames were actually made from a single piece of wood and the area to be painted was carved out leaving a raised frame, according to Frinton Frames. This method of framing was an expensive and rather a laborious process and evolved to the “Engaged Frame”. Essentially, this is where wooden strips were attached to a flat piece of wood. And the whole framing process continues to creatively evolve even to this day.

Even my own family had our own ‘history’ with frames. Family photographs framed simply or decoratively were the mainstay of dressing up one`s walls, until recent times. I remember, when my siblings and I would go home for our annual holidays, Dad would insist on the ‘family photo’ at a studio much to my dislike. With so much deliberation, a reasonably decent picture to the satisfaction of the photographer and the parents would be chosen from a variety of shots taken and then the innocuous frame, very much like the previous year would be decided in thirty seconds.

It felt that the frame was just the support to hold the photo taken – similar or close to the ones that housed our yearly family photos. In retrospect, I do wonder was it because the frame was not to outshine the photo but presently I would like to think that the frame allows an art piece or picture to shine through without taking the limelight away from that art or picture.

Fast forward to 2020 – The array of profiles available is mindboggling and a ‘quick’ visit to a framing store is just as challenging as a visit to a saree store simply because we are spoilt for choice.

Not for the faint hearted
Sourced from

Like I mentioned above, the choices are a plenty.


I was really ‘on a roll’ with this fascination on frames and I found myself calling up Mr. Madhu of LAKSHANA. Mr. Madhu has been one of my go to places to get my framing done and I find that he has a pretty keen eye and can be creative with his colors, moulding and the numerous possibilities
– this I believe comes from his passion spanning for the last three and a half decades.

I proceeded to meet up with Mr. Madhu to have a chat with him about his work with frames (A socially distanced conversation).

What made you decide to venture into this relatively unknown industry thirty five years ago?
My introduction to fine art framing was made at Sarala Art Gallery, located at the Connemara Hotel, In 1979 Senior artists from all over India used to come there to get their artwork framed. Each one of them was particular in how the finished product looked. I was fascinated by their vision. I paid rapt attention to the skill with which the artisans who created the frames, worked. Eventually, I decided to open a picture framing business of my own. And so Lakshana was born.

What has been the change of the mindset of people over the last decade?
Often, when some clients enter Lakshana, they are unsure of what kind of frame would best enhance their artwork. By offering them many different looks and they are ready to frame their art and they are ready to experiment.

You have been a frontrunner in the framing sector especially in Chennai, what has been the motivation, to keep reinventing your products?
I guess ,my clients who by their demands for picture frame that uniquely enhances their artwork, and keeps me wanting to reinvent , the design, texture , colours and fabric.

Profiles With Madhu

What would you say is your favorite kind of frame/frames and the texture used?
My favorite frames are on Teak Wood with lot of grooves.

Madhu’s latest work done for me with a raw silk, burnt orange background.

Where do you source your materials and where do you get your work force considering that it is so labour intensive?
The artisans, who create these exceptional frames, have been with Lakshana for over 35 years. They cast an experienced eye on the piece of art and often surprise the client with their creativity. We source frames
as well as machines, mattes from Europe.

What you are currently working on?
Inspite of the lockdown, numerous orders been received from our clients – Consulates, Five Star Hotels, Hospitals, Industrial Houses as well.

Here are some of the frames that can be found at LAKSHANA

1 1/2″ Profile
Frame with 1 1/2″
Bevelled Mount
Glass & Acrylic
(Transparent Type)
with Black Frame.
LAKSHANA is located @
New No: 5, Abhiramapuram 1st Street,
(Opp. Kirthilal’s Jewellers, Behind: Citi Bank)
Abhiramapuram, Chennai – 600018.


In this guide, (sourced from and ) we’ll break down different types of photo frames, explore what makes each one unique.

There’s strength in numbers. Try putting together a collection of four or more frames for an impactful look, and don’t be afraid to mix and match frame finishes along the way — it creates variation and visual interest. Plus, it’s a simple shortcut to the type of subtle yet sophisticated colour scheme that ties pieces of the room together.
Instead of making the photograph look as if it is held in place by the frame, when you
buy floating picture frames, you will enjoy an optical illusion of the picture actually
floating on the wall. This is because it is sandwiched tightly between two pieces of
glass that allow you to see through the picture frame to the photograph or art displayed.
This is a great choice if you really want to set off the art you’re displaying and if the
colour of your wall looks great with it as any imperfections in the wall will be
instantly visible behind a floating frame.
Try setting this frame style along a mantle or shelf for a layered look. Stagger the
positioning of your other decor to enhance the visual effect of the deep-set image. Even
better: Since they’re not hung on the wall, swapping photos and frames becomes much
simpler. Consider doing so seasonally to refresh the feeling of the room.
A current trend for photos are canvas prints. Canvas prints allows the photos to ‘jump out’
at first glance. It’s ideal for documenting the portraits you’ll want pass down for
generations – wedding photos, baby photos, and beyond.
Well known photographer Tarun Koliyot ( recommends
United Brothers ( for canvas prints.
Pair two large frames together for a display that wows, or mix and match different sizes
of smaller frames, as in the image above. Remember: Simply because you have other
metal finishes in your space doesn’t mean that your frames have to match them
exactly — a little variation goes a long way.
These picture frames are deeper than typical frames, allowing you to easily store and
display more than just photographs. Depending on what you want to display, you can buy
very deep shadow boxes that are perfect for sports memorabilia, buttons, or even badges
and pins. Make sure that the shadow box you choose is deep enough so that your items
aren’t being pushed up against the glass when they are on display.
Instead of being plain, decorative frames have pictures, sayings, and even sometimes 3D
elements on them that will make the frame really pop. It is fun to find a decorative frame
that fits with the theme of the picture that you are going to display as this makes the
picture and frame appear to be a cohesive unit that you’re displaying. With so many
decorative frames to choose from, you can easily buy one that will match the hobbies or
interests of the person you’re giving it to.
These picture frames have become more popular and affordable in recent years. It’s very
easy to showcase a number of digital pictures in these frames. Some have a place where
you can insert the memory card from your camera while others have enough of their own
memory and space so that users can upload the pictures that they want to see. You can use
them to either display one picture all of the time or scroll through the uploaded pictures,
depending on what you want to see.
Whether set on a mantle or secured to the wall, the Wooden Photo Ledge lets you layer
your favourite prints in the thin groove and rotate them for any occasion.
It’s all in the little details — and table top frames go a long way in making a house feel like home. The Wooden Table top Frame pairs a timeless design with a uniquely modern take on functionality: Simply use the detachable metal stand to take your frame from the table to the wall and back again.

And there you have it, a little history of Frames!