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Gild standard: Decorating with antique photo frames


When photography became all the rage at the end of the 19th century, so did antique photo frames. Is there anything more precious than those small, beautifully crafted objects of virtue?


Today, they fill art galleries, restaurants and hotel lobbies - lending a mysterious splendour to a space. Upon seeing them, you may have asked yourself: where on earth can I find these kinds of antique photo frames for sale to showcase my own artwork? We’ve got you. 

These are some of the most desirable antique photo frames to adorn your home with or bestow as a wonderfully curious gift.

A brief guide to antique photo frames

You’ll be in awe at how many different styles and finishes of antique photo frames you’ll find at shops, fairs and centres. Metal, wood, ornate, painted, stained, lacquered, distressed, brushed, foiled… what you choose depends on your personal style and sometimes, the art. 

For example, if you’re framing a classical oil painting, ornate will work beautifully. Meanwhile, opulent lacquered frames are heavenly married to an Art Deco piece. Many traditional homes showcase art with dark wood antique photo frames, while modern Scandi interiors are well-suited to natural materials and tactile textures. 

A very popular interior style is shabby chic - often decorated with soft, faded wooden frames. Be careful you’re buying genuine antiques, though: upcycling enthusiasts will often research how to paint frames to look antique. And they can be very convincing. Do your research.

One of the oldest and most prestigious British silversmiths is William Comyns. Many antique photo frames with a WC hallmark go back to the 17th century, where they were manufactured in their thousands. Original frames can cost between £200-£300, depending on size and quality. As always, reproductions exist. These fetch a lot less at auction - you can grab one for a quarter of the price, although you’ll pay more for one in Art Nouveau style. 

Antique photo frames in the home

When decorating with antique photo frames, it’s important that you don’t upstage the artwork itself. And with so many glam, ornate frames, it’s easily done. The key for a balanced display is to find antique photo frames that complement your pictures. 

When choosing the best space for your frames, go for rooms where you usually relax - a living room, dining room or even reception area. Kitchens, bathrooms and other utility-style spaces cannot give justice to the mysterious beauty of antique photo frames. 

Where can I find antique photo frames for sale? 

It’s a motto we live by: the thrill is in the hunt. There’s nothing more exciting than spotting unique antiques. While acquiring an unexpected treasure at a fair or charity shop is truly special, one of the most successful places to start is in an antiques centre. This way you’re among thousands of reputable dealers with genuine antique photo frames for sale, in one place. 

Browse our silverware to find quality silver antique photo frames for sale and our 20th-century furniture collection for more unusual frames at reasonable prices - we sell thousands of items online but even more in our extensive centres. 

There’s nothing like an in-person visit to admire those pretty patinas with your own eyes. Pop our Lincoln address in your Sat Nav and take our antique photo frames home for your own precious slice of the past. Happy framing!

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