Custom Framing
Oliver Brothers Custom Framing       117 Elliott Street, Beverly, MA 01915  617.536.2323

best in show design 2013/ conservation picture framing

Mira Bishop, Champion of Conservation Framing Design, 2013




conservation picture framing design

2013 national picture framing design competition

“Champion of Conservation Framing” 

WC Art and Frame Expo, Las Vegas, NV


While sitting in a restaurant in 1979, a nineteen-year-old woman received a napkin with her hand-drawn portrait from a young man. Surprised and flattered, she asked for the young artist’s signature. Instead, he wrote his phone number! Though she never called, the woman chose to preserve the image and later discovered that the artist graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Still, the napkin, – a medium never intended to be preserved long term – faded greatly over three decades, the paper becoming thin and wispy.


Now the head of custom framing for Oliver Brothers (a leading art restoration and conservation firm), Mira Bishop, the subject of the portrait, decided to frame the napkin in a very special way. For her design she won first place “Best in Show” award in Tru Vue’s national custom framing design contest Champions of Conservation in Las Vegas, January 2013.


Inspired by the history of innovation of Oliver Brothers, which invented the first vacuum press for re-lining paintings in 1933, the contestant worked with Prisma Frames (Bella Mouldings) to devise a cutting-edge method for floating two seamless acrylic frames. The outside floater-frame is a solid sawdust color, while the inner frame contains a barely visible pattern of the same color. Both frames are adhered together through their solid acrylic backing plates. A wide Crescent museum rag-mat completes the monochromatic design with a seamless gilded moon-gold fillet that adds a sophisticated classical appeal. The napkin itself is hinged to a Crescent museum rag-mat substrate, and the piece is glazed with Optium Museum Acrylic for maximum clarity and UV protection. Durable and strong, Optium is anti-reflective, anti-static and abrasion resistant. Used by museums around the world, Optium Acrylic glazing is the best protection for valuable artworks.

The result is a minimalistic contemporary design that leaves the artwork as the undeniable focal point. Here, the two Prisma frames offer an architectural gravitas that pays homage to more conventional layered framing. The airiness of the acrylic, however, softens the overall feeling of the piece – allowing for a larger frame and mat, while at the same time highlighting the smoky delicacy of the image. Finally, the slight reddish rub applied to the fillet complements similar tones in the portrait’s ink, which has begun to gradually oxidize with age. Taken together, the combination of frames, mat, and fillet present clean minimalist lines that invite the viewer to linger without being distracting, ultimately drawing their eyes to the image at the center.


The history of this artwork’s personal significance, as well as the subject’s passion for creative design, will hopefully be an inspiration for others in the industry in the future.

acrylic floater frame and regular frame, both seamless

Floater frame and regular acrylic picture frame


seamless acrylic custom picture frames with gilded fillet

Both picture frames together- the winning conservation picture framing design




Tru Vue WC Art and Frame Expo in Las Vegas, January 2013

Mira Bishop, Oliver Brothers Custom Framing, describing her award winning design.

Photo Credit: Dragan Grujic + Katarina Bishop

Video Credit:  Tru Vue