The Art of Framing
When getting married, sometimes you get a “package deal.” You might find incorporated into your new combined life various pets, furniture, high school yearbooks, thousands of toy soldiers, lamps made out of whiskey bottles…and sometimes, if you are lucky, you also get pre-existing friends, who are AWESOME! That’s how I feel about Connie and Royd Riddell. Close friends of my husband’s for many years, I was welcomed into their club early on, and they have become some of my favorite people to hang out with! Co-owners of Douglass Fine Picture Framing and Riddell Rare Maps and Fine Prints, Connie is THE go-to gal for impeccable and high quality custom picture framing!
Douglass Fine Picture Framing has deep roots in Dallas History. According to Vintage Texas Paintings, the original owner, John Douglass, one of “The Dallas Nine” was a Landscape painter, muralist, frame maker, graphic artist, and gallery owner. Douglass studied with Frank Reaugh and traveled with him on several summer sketching caravans during the 1920s and 1930s, including a 1926 trip to the Davis Mountains and the Big Bend area. Douglass worked as a crew member assisting in the execution of murals and sculptural works on buildings erected at Fair Park, Dallas, for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. In 1940 he established an art gallery in addition to his frame shop to show and sell the works of local artists; he provided custom-made frames, often of his own design.
Historic accuracy and preservation is very important to Connie Riddell, present-day co-owner of Douglass Fine Picture Framing, and her workshop maintains all of Douglass’ original knives, so that frame shapes and designs dating back to the 1940’s can still be produced.
Q: Connie, what sets Douglass Fine Picture Framing apart from other framing shops?
A: We pride ourselves in continuing on the skills of trained artisans. The Douglass line is produced starting with raw wood and advancing through numerous steps including gesso, sanding, hand lacquering, leafing, distressing and waxing. We still offer hand wrapped custom mats, fillets, French mats that are designed with hand drawn lines and watercolor panels and custom finishes specific to the art. We keep detailed records of every order, so that we can duplicate or compliment your next job.
Q: I know that Douglass Fine Picture Framing is highly regarded in the art world.
A: Yes. We frame pieces that have been displayed at the Amon Carter Museum, which is a not-to-be missed museum in Ft. Worth containing one of the greatest collections of Western Art, and works that have hung at the Dallas Museum of Art, a cultural jewel in Dallas. We also frame for many Texas Regional Art collectors. We work with well-known celebrities from Dallas, and around the country, to frame their art, or special pieces they wish to shadow box or preserve, and work closely with many designers and decorators.
Q: There’s so many details to address when creating a custom framing plan. How do you begin?
A: Well, first the client brings in the piece they wish to frame. We also have clients who trust us so implicitly, they will simply ship their piece to us. Our gallery is equipped with florescent, Incandescent and LED lights, so that we can look at the piece with the same light under which it will eventually be displayed. We have hundreds of sample frames, and thousands of mattes, including hand-wrapped fabric mattes, French mattes, French watercolor mattes, and many many others. We can even provide antique glass.
Q: Do you do all this work alone?
A: Oh no, it’s a team effort, I love the design process and Kiyoko oversees all work as the project manager. With her background in porcelain restoration and over 15 years with Douglass Picture Frames she is a highly skilled artisan whose attention to detail ensures perfection. appeal.
Q: How did you get started in the framing business?
A: My husband, Royd, is a rare map and print dealer, and for years we outsourced our framing. One day, we looked at each other and said, hey….why don’t we do the framing ourselves? We bought Douglass Fine Picture Framing sixteen years ago, and never looked back. My own degree is in Industrial Design and Art, so custom framing was a natural fit for me.
Q: Share with me something unusual or something wonderful you have had the opportunity to frame!
A: Ha! Unusual? Certainly that would be the petrified frog skin that was mounted on silk and framed in a 22kt hand carved frame – it even had a gold hand lettered name plate. Wonderful? A 1836 map of The Republic of Texas worth over six figures!
Y’all….Will and I have so many pieces of art beautifully framed by Douglass Fine Picture Framing! Can’t recommend Connie highly enough!