French Mat Design

Ink Well & Ruling Pen History of French Matting

The history of using lines, panels and hand drawn embellishments around artwork can be seen as early as the Middle Ages in illuminated manuscripts. It slowly evolved into decorating around or on the prints themselves during the Italian Renaissance. Prints were mounted onto larger pieces of paper and bound inside books or portfolios for protection. Then sheet glass was developed and used as a barrier between the artwork and any possible damages from light, humidity or dust. The glass was decorated with gilded and painted accents that can still be re-created today. This practice was revived in the 18th century by Parisian designer, Jean-Baptiste Glomy, who painted reverse glass panels known as verre églomisé, which inspired the french lines used today.

  • Antique Prints

    French mat with marble paper panel

    French mat with marble paper panel

  • Documents
  • Maps
  • Historical & Contemporary Art

French Mat Design @Bradley’s

1. Mat board is masked using removable tape to add powder panels or watercolor panels with a foam brush
2. Tape is removed, panel is touched up with eraser and lines are measured for appropriate spacing
3. The ruling pen is loaded with ink and the width of the lines are adjusted for the best looking design
4. Steve touches up the French lines with an xacto knife for clean lines and corners
5. Outside French lines are drawn with the ruling pen
6. Finished French mat surrounding an Audubon print in a custom frame with museum quality glass

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STEVE GASE, MCPF, is an integral part of the production team. He works on digital design layouts, shadowbox assembly, artwork mounting, matting, embossing, fabric covered matboard and creative, one-of-a-kind award winning contest frames.

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