FRAME AND PAINTING WORKING TOGETHER

Peter Blake (born 1932) has been called ``a believable surrealist.'' He was, in the '60s, considered a ``Pop'' artist, a reputation that his cover for the Beatles' ``Sergeant Pepper'' album did nothing to dispel. Blake's subject matter is wide - wrestlers, circus performers, self-portraits, children's portraits, Titania, Alice in Wonderland - and this, Edward Lear's nonsense poem ``The Owl and the Pussycat.''

A collector of frames, Blake is fascinated with the question of an apt dialogue between picture and frame. Here the beaten copper frame probably comes from the early part of this century and has an unsophisticated ``Art Nouveau'' feel to it. The boat, top right, has found its way into Blake's painting.

The frame adapts perfectly for the unlikely couple who ``went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat'' and ``took some honey, and plenty of money, wrapped up in five pound note.''

The frame is thus integral with the picture, and is clearly never meant to be separated from it. It helps to give Blake's picture a fantastical dream atmosphere that a plain, modern frame or an over-elaborate or pretentious one of a different, less appropriate period, would not.

By the same token, Blake's evocative, amusing painting bestows on its frame a status and character it seems unlikely to have had before.

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