Art & Technology

Art and technology combine for John Davies frames and dealer Alex Wengraf

How computers are enhancing the market for these two businesses

The firm of John Davies was started in 1970. It now has a London showroom and one in the Hague, selling high quality reproduction picture frames, made in the company’s own workshops. They have made frames for some of the world’s most famous Old Master paintings including Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and his “View of Delft”, both now on show in the Hague. The company also sells and restores old frames.

Customers wishing to select a frame were previously obliged to search through the company’s extensive computer database for images scanned from frame catalogues. Now the whole thing has been customised with a new computer programme designed by John Davies and his son, Joshua Davies

For a £25 consultation fee the firm will design on screen four alternative frames based exactly on the customer’s specifications which are then available as a colour printout. If an order follows, the £25 is refundable. Prices start from around £300 for a print frame and £600 for a picture frame, but complex, labour-intensive shapes—for instance octag-onals and ovals—are considerably more expensive.

John Davies is also building up an extensive computer archive of images and information about frames and their history. A CD-ROM on this subject is a possibility for the future. For more information telephone +44 (0) 171 930 7977/7795, fax +44 (0) 171 976 1518.

Another well-known name in the world of Old Masters has embraced new technology recently. London Old Master picture and sculpture dealer Alex Wengraf believes he is the first Old Master dealer to set up a Website showing his entire stock. This is more than just a few pages advertising his gallery: it is 300 pages of text and images giving information about the works of art for sale and also about the firm’s activities, such as fairs at which they are taking part.

Originally appeared in the Art Newspaper as 'Surf the Net with Alex Wengraf'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 59 May 1996