Why Frame? A Guide to Custom Framing

Framing can certainly modify or enhance the appearance of your artwork, though its importance goes beyond mere aesthetics. Framing is one of the smartest long term investments you can make. Our team of framers works with museum-quality archival materials to ensure that your artwork remains chemically and physically stable and protected from factors such as humidity, temperature, and UV radiation. 

Our Handmade Frames: A Legacy of Craftsmanship

At The Antiquarium, we offer a wide variety of handmade frames. These are sent to us from workshops around the world with legacies that span generations. The craftsmanship of these pieces is truly unmatched, and we take a great deal of pride in our selection. Because we work directly with frame makers, handmade frames allow immense freedom in terms of customization - from altering colors, to ornamentation, to adjusting the depth of a frame. Our handmade frames are truly special, and we think you'll feel the same.

What Goes Inside the Frame


Over 90% of the time, we will recommend that loose works on paper are framed with a mat. This is important for several reasons: matting helps ensure that a piece will lay flat in the frame, and it prevents artwork from touching the glass. Due to the inevitable changes in humidity and temperature that all artworks experience, art which lays directly against glass can stick; if one attempts to separate the two, irreversible damage to the artwork can occur. We want to take every precaution to preserve a piece’s structural integrity and ensure your art remains in the best condition possible.

Acidic materials should never be used in any kind of archival framing. Therefore, the mats and backing we use have little to no acid content. 


Adding a fillet (pronounced either fih-LAY or FIH-let) is a simple way to add dimension and definition to your framed artwork. Fillets are thin pieces of moulding with a flat lip on one side, allowing them to fit in between your art and the mat edge. They will typically complement the larger frame's color and style, and as with larger frames can either be handmade or cut from length moulding. Especially for larger pieces, fillets enhance a matted work's visual interest. 


French linework is a dying art that can enhance any matted artwork and provide visual definition with more subtlety than a fillet. Italian artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) produced some of the first recorded examples of this kind of decorative matting, filling elaborate albums with his extensive collection of Old Master drawings. 

We can add lines of virtually any color imaginable, and for additional decoration we offer marbled paper borders. You may request specific colors, or one of our framers will select ink and paper that complement the colors of your image. Mat bevels (edges cut obliquely to prevent the mat from casting shadow) can also be painted to add additional detail.


Your choice in glazing can dramatically affect the final appearance of your framed artwork, which is why we encourage our clients to consider a few factors when making their selection.


There are two main options which we recommend: Conservation Clear and Museum Glass. Both have 99% UV protection, an extremely important factor in ensuring the longevity of your artwork. They differ in two respects: Museum Glass is designed specifically to provide the clearest view of your item possible, and is therefore more glare-resistant than Conservation Clear. There is also a price differential between the two, which varies depending on your piece's size and the amount of glass required for framing.


For certain projects, we elect to glaze with acrylic. This is because certain media are not compatible with glass from a conservation standpoint, and because very large pieces of glass pose a safety hazard due to their weight and risk of shattering. We offer a choice between UV Clear and Museum Acrylic, the acrylic counterparts to Conservation Clear and Museum Glass.


We are lucky to employ extremely skilled framers who have years of experience working with fabric. They can create incredible embossed detailing on fabric mats and backing, the perfect addition to any shadowbox or float frame. We also offer paper cutout detailing, a popular edition to many of the college diplomas we frame.

Other Framing and Display Options: Statuary, Historical Artifacts, etc.

If you have an item you would like to display that will not fit in a standard-sized frame, we can certainly work with you. We collaborate with expert fabricators who have years of experience constructing display cases for pieces of every shape and size.

Length Moulding

For some projects, length moulding is more appropriate, whether due to a piece's size, the degree to which you plan to invest in your project, or time constraints. Because this moulding comes pre-made to us for assembly, options for customization are limited. However, there are still many, many beautiful design options available to you, and we keep thousands of length moulding samples in stock at our gallery.