Carl Wenstrom, director of John Tanous, said: “The original frame component moulds in various materials including soapstone, wood, plaster and rubber are beautiful and some are more than 100 years old. “We would like to sell them and hope we can find a new owner.” The firm is selling the group of 1250 moulds with an asking price of £5000.
Co-director Tanya Wenstrom added: “We prefer to sell the carvings as one lot, but we are keen to find a new ongoing home for them.”
The framing business of John Tanous began more than a century ago, just off Fulham Road in London. In the early 20th century it was one of the top gesso composition frame makers in London, servicing major museums, galleries and artists including Augustus John and John Lavery.
Among its biggest projects was the reframing of more than 200 pictures for the Christopher Wood retrospective exhibition organised by the Redfern Gallery in the 1930s. By 1937 the family firm split into two businesses (John Tanous and Tanous Fine Art Frames) and the John Tanous business eventually focused on making bespoke furniture for interior designers and commercial clients (making its last frames in 2003).
Run by husband and wife Carl and Tanya Wenstrom with a team of more than 10, the firm is based in the Sussex countryside. Tanya said: “Picture framing skills, such as gilding, were adapted to manufacture furniture, mirrors and curtain pelmets.
“In 2009 the operation moved to premises in Sussex and a greater focus was made of producing high-end craftsman-built bespoke furniture.”
As part of clearing its archive John Tanous also sold more than 100 frames through Parker Fine Art Auctions in Farnham, Surrey, in April.
The framing firm Tanous Fine Art Frames continues to trade in Fulham.