Window Mounting
1. Reasons for window mounting

Window mounts cut with a bevelled aperture perform several useful functions:

– they allow us to mask an artwork to show precisely the area that is wanted

– to encapsulate the artwork between pieces of conservation quality mount board that create a chemically stable and safe immediate environment

– act as a distancing piece that will help create space between the surface of the work and the glazing so that the glazing is not in contact with the work

– to add size to the artwork if required, with full control over proportions

– to emphasize details about the artwork with choice of colour or material

And when window mounting, we always use glazing to protect the artwork and also the mount itself.

Image (top): Guler Ates, 'Woman in Huis te Warmond (III), 60x 90cm. 2021'.

Image (middle): Giovanni Boldini, 'Whistler Asleep, 1897'.

Image (bottom): Henry Parsons Rivière, 'Study of a peasant boy lying down'.

Window Mounting
2. Design principles

As opposed to box framing where the entire work is shown, window mounting often seeks to focus attention to the image area.

The frame itself can be shallow because less internal depth is required and therefore window mounts are often paired with flatter drawing frames.

Conservation quality mount board or cotton rag board are both available in a range of neutral and organic tones that compliment art papers. When looking for colour, or alternatives that draw on other elements of the work, we are able to laminate materials to the surface of a mount board ensuring that conservation quality materials remain in contact with the artwork itself.

Artists' materials including linen and calico, and bookbinding materials such as buckram and rayon can make incredibly beautiful choices.

Image (top): Eugene Codjoe, 'Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavík'.

Image (bottom): Keith Tyson, 'Aztec Mobile Disco'.

Window Mounting
3. Mounting techniques

Window mounts consist of the visible front card with window aperture, and a solid backing piece of the same size and material – the two are hinged together along their longest edge (irrespective of orientation), and together make a ‘book'.

The artwork is always held or affixed to the solid backing piece and the window is able to be lifted or opened to view the artwork mounted safely on the backing.

We use two conservation techniques to hold the artwork in place:

Photo Corners
Pre-formed from inert archival quality clear plastic, or hand folded using museum quality paper, photo corners are our first choice for artworks on relatively rigid substrates that will hold their shape when resting down into the photo corners. No adhesive is required and so if taken out of the frame the artwork can be removed without any evidence of having been mounted.

These are made by crossing two strips of tape; a vertical piece that is adhered to the reverse of the artwork, and a horozontal piece that adheres down onto the backing board. Positioned only at the top edge of the artwork, usually one in each top corner, T-hinges allow the artwork to hang on the backing board and are well suited to less rigid materials.

Image (top): Karyn Lyons, 'The Ham Sandwich, 2022'. In the process of window mounting with pre-formed photo-corners.

Image (bottom): Eric Gill, copperplate engraving ‘Prior of Caldey'. Being window mounted using t-hinges.

Window Mounting
4. Unconventional Shapes

While window mount apertures are often square, we can customise to fit virtually any shape.

We use CNC computerised mount cutting equipment.

Apertures customised specifically to an irregular shape are made possible by deriving vector-based outlines from the work. This can be useful in cases such as artworks with hand-cut or drawn arched tops that don’t conform to a measurable radius.

Image: Ambrosine Allen, 'Mountain Waterfall After the Storm 2021'.

Window Mounting
5. Window mounting photography

In our directory entry for box frames we discuss how dry mounting photographic prints can be beneficial. In many cases though, particularly when we are framing for a collector rather than directly for the artist, we will advise that window mounting is the best approach.

The main benefit of dry mounting is that the work can be made to stay very flat, on a rigid substrate, but will be permanently affixed to it. Such permanent adhesion can be an issue for a collector that has purchsed a photograph in its ‘loose’ condition and is forced to modify its natural state purely to improve its appearance when framed. Removing it from this original condition can of course affect its re-sale value.

The advantage of window mounting is that much less adhesion is needed, if any at all, and so the print may be removed if ever required with no change caused by framing.

Where it holds the paper the aperture of the mount will go some way to keeping the work flat – this will prevent the edge curling quite common with silver gelatin prints. However with a large photographic print, and particularly C-prints on paper around 210 gsm, it can be challenging to eliminate waviness across the image.

We perform our own dry mounting in-house and will always advise on the appropriate handling for best results.

Image (top): Alice Hawkins, 'Self Portrait as Dolly Parton, 2011'.

Image (bottom): Fernand Fonssagrives, 'Studio couch, (light and shadow), 1956'.