Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

6.23.2009

Fillet v. Double Matting

The term "fillet," as it is used by framers, may not crop up in most people's casual conversations but everyone has probably seen quite a few of these decorative elements without thinking much about them. Their point, after all, is to draw the eye in and sharpen the focus on a work of art. Basically a fillet is a thin strip of molding commonly placed between the art and the matting, as shown above and below. It's like a second "inner frame."


Typically made of wood, a fillet may be gilded,

painted, or stained depending on the style of frame chosen.


Classically fillets are used with watercolors to bring a bit of weight to something delicate, or to literally add depth. But the decision to use one is rather subjective; some eyes prefer to rest on a cleaner, more minimal picture. In the example of Hollyhock's framed Regency-era needlework shown at the top, a decision was made to go all out. The diminutive piece is anchored with a gilt fillet, hand-painted matting, and a gilt frame.

Double matting, in contrast, is the layering of two mats commonly made with paper, linen, or silk. Some drawings, documents, paintings, and prints are triple matted.

Credits: image one via Hollyhock and 1stdibs; photo four was taken by Amanda Talley, and all others are mine. Painting in image two by Vicky Molinelli.

16 comments:

Amanda Stone Talley said...

I never knew that was what it was called. I love that! You always have something so interesting and unique to write about!

Style Court said...

Thanks Amanda! I don't know if the world is on pins and needles to read about fillets today, but I thought, why not? :)

Laura Casey Interiors said...

I usually pick a fillet but did a double mat on one of my boys needlepoints in fun colors and it looks good. I have enjoyed all of your images and comparing. I met Amanda last week in her studio in NOLA after seeing her work here-what a talent.

Belle said...

Definitely glad you decided to. I like knowing stuff. ;)

tartanscot said...

yay! for fillets!

I'm a major fillet fan. I also try to keep all of my matting very simple so that I can re-hang my artwork without having to worry about mismatching mat shades and colours. but, than again, I'm kinda crazy . . . lol.

Style Court said...

Laura -- your needlepoints sound great. I know you had a fun time meeting Amanda!

Style Court said...

Tartonscot, I agree, simple mats, often neutrals!

Style Court said...

Belle, I appreciate that!

Jackie Von Tobel said...

I have to say that I always go for the fillet. It seems so much more substantial than the mat alone. I'd almost rather go without a mat than have an unfinished edge.

La Maison Fou said...

Thank you for that, yes! A good fillet for filling!
Leslie

Anonymous said...

There is another, common use of a fillet: Sometimes an oil painting doesn't really need or call for a linen liner but perhaps a small fillet of gold, or reeded wood or many other style can serve as a small separation between frame and picture This kind of tiny detail can make that subtle detail that elevates an oil painting from beautiful to beautiful and elegant.

An artist who does a lot of framing

Karena said...

I like to keep mats neutral, except in a child's room that calls for something fun, however there are great frames in all colors of painted wood available now. I also love to stack a fillet inside molding for added depth and detail.

ulla said...

This is a great post, I was mesmerized. I am obsessed with framing.

Style Court said...

Thanks Ulla!

Lynn said...

As in the first picture from this post, what is the term for the chevron detailing between fillet and frame? You always have very helpful posts and as an interior design student I look to your site for education and inspiration. Thank you!

Style Court said...

Hi Lynn,

That's a decorative, I believe hand-painted mat. Thanks so much for the kind feedback!