The Timeless Appeal of an Antique Silver Picture Frame

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In this age of consumerism, where every Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day (and more besides) is an open invitation for commercial extravagance, the pressures on all of us to keep coming up with that perfect gift have never appeared greater.

Whether it’s perfume, clothing, jewellery, vouchers for the spa, or the latest Xbox or iPhone, we are constantly bombarded with ideas of what to buy for our partners, our children, our grandchildren, other family members – and let’s not forget our friends!  

How often these purchases are made out of folly, or peer pressure or just on a whim is open to conjecture. More to the point, how many of the presents we buy will be truly treasured or remembered at all within a few weeks of being unwrapped?  

Instant gratification may be one thing, lasting appreciation is quite another!

Yet, there are certain gifts which seem to rise above all the commercial hullabaloo, that represent much more than your “here today, gone tomorrow” consumable. Precious items that exude quality and are guaranteed to stand the test of the time - not merely a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty.

In particular, we are talking picture frames. Silver picture frames. More specifically, antique silver picture frames. To be more precise still, antique, hallmarked sterling silver picture frames - the best of the best.

An good example is this antique silver photograph frame - Birmingham 1920.  It is a simple rectangular frame with nice wooden back.  Would go well in a contemporary or traditional setting. Actual photo size 18cms x 12cms

Antique silver photograph frame - Birmingham 1920.  Simple rectangular frame with nice wooden back.  Would go well in a contemporary or traditional setting. Actual photo size 18cms x 12cms - See more at:


Great size silver photograph frame with nicely moulded edge decoration. London 1991. Velvet back Actual photo size is 25cms x 20cms
Dimensions: 32cm (12.6 in) High x 27cm (10.6in) Wide - See more at:
Interestingly, when it comes to photography, although these days we take for granted our ability to point and shoot pictures straight from our mobiles (what’s happened to the poor old camera?) how much of this prolific snapping gets beyond our instant deletion or the phone’s storage file - something we then only give a cursory glance to on the train during the morning commute? The other popular option, of course, is posting on social media.

But placing a hallowed picture in an antique silver photo frame – well, that’s something quite different. Apart from the sheer quality, the detailing and the styling of the frame itself, displaying a valued photograph in such a way indicates a deep appreciation of a moment in time, never to be forgotten.  

Antique silver photo frames are undeniably appropriate for so many different occasions and reasons - for Christmas, a birthday, a landmark wedding anniversary, a christening, a graduation, a promotion, in memoriam, or simply as a nice surprise. In fact, they’re so special you may already have the perfect excuse to buy one for yourself!   

And unlike the latest hi-tech gizmo that may well be obsolete before it has even been removed from its box and in immediate danger of being consigned to an unappreciated and lonely life in the garage, an intricate antique silver picture frame with a fascinating provenance is highly unlikely to earn such an ignominious fate.

It’s worth emphasising that as well as the intrinsic and personal value associated with antique silver photo frames, they also have real monetary worth. As a commodity, silver has proved to be a terrific investment in recent years and picture frames of a certain vintage with silver at their heart are recognised as holding their value extremely well. They are appreciating assets – which is all part of the appeal.

The Emergence of Table Top Frames
Although the idea of framing pictures and hanging them on walls first occurred in churches way back in the 1300s, the concept of the table top frame first took hold in the 1840s as the casing used for a daguerreotype, the first commercially successful photographic process.
To be viewed properly, the daguerreotype, which was created on a mirror-like surface that required tilting at just the right angle.  The viewing angle proved difficult when it was wall hung, so instead, the daguerreotype was set into a case and placed on the table. By 1870, larger numbers of table top frames emerged and within ten years, the craze had really taken off.  This helps to explain why Victorian rooms often appeared so cluttered – with tables, shelves and mantel pieces used to exhibit scores of photo frames – often in trademark silver.

The strength of the British Hallmark
 All the antique sterling silver photograph frames we carry have one extremely important element in common – they each contain the sacrosanct UK hallmark. This is your absolute guarantee of the fineness of the silver, confirming that the frame has been assayed at one of the UK’s four assay offices.

Hallmarks are usually positioned on the side of the frame and can tell you a great deal about its background. Both the “925” fineness mark and the “Lion Passant” are the confirmation that the silver is sterling at 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy. The assay office is indicated by a leopard’s head for London, an anchor for Birmingham, a rose for Sheffield and a castle for Edinburgh.
The date letter mark will tell you when the frame was assayed. There is also a “sponsor’s mark” or “maker’s mark” which indicates who the silversmith was, or which company commissioned the frame


Buying from Us – the Benefit of Experience
During the last 20 years, Tudor Rose Antiques has built a reputation in Petworth as specialists in the field of antique silver frames. Throughout that time, we are proud to have sold a vast number of silver frames, covering a variety of styles and designs, in different shapes and sizes - from small circular frames to large rectangular pieces belonging with a heritage spanning the late Victorian era through to the mid 20th century period.  

Furthermore, Petworth is absolutely the right place to browse for antiques.  Our West Sussex town is at the heart of the British antiques trade, now recognised as one of the two leading antique towns in the country.  It’s a reputation that we are proud to protect and nurture.

What would you expect to pay?
If you look through the selection of antique silver picture frames displayed on our website, you’ll notice a fair variance in price. Exceptional frames can cost thousands – based on the intricacy of the design, the condition, rarity etc – but typically most are relatively affordable.

Those with wooden backs tend to be more valuable than frames with leather or velvet, whilst bevelled glass is also an indication of superior quality. It should be stressed, however, to find a frame from the Victorian or Edwardian era without the slightest of blemishes would be unusual, given the number of times it is likely to have been handled over the years.

You’ll notice that the majority of antique silver picture frames feature monochrome or sepia tones which bring out the best in the silver framing. But this is down to personal choice.  

Taking everything into consideration, however, the average price for a hallmarked, antique silver frame in good condition, typically sits in the £150 - £300 price range.

Timeless Quality
At Tudor Rose Antiques, we have an extensive range of beautiful and elegant antique silver photo frames – guaranteed to enhance the look of your home.  Unquestionably, these are superb artefacts, lovingly crafted that will continue to stand the test of time. Their purpose is to serve as a visible yet subtle reminder of a special occasion, person or persons – perhaps to showcase an old wedding photo marking a landmark anniversary, or to recognise the newest addition in an extended family.

For a hundred and one reasons, what better choice of display than an antique silver picture frame.  How special are they?  Well why not see for yourself, but we’d say, exceedingly so.

If you are considering the purchase of an antique silver frame – you’ve come to exactly the right place. We’d be delighted to discuss your requirements and preferences.