Frames fulfil a variety of functions, from the protective to the decorative; they can indicate ownership or they can assert the importance of the paintings they enclose. In their shape and ornamentation, frames are linked to architectural forms or to furniture and interior design, while many styles of decoration can be related to the work of goldsmiths and of sculptors. Few pictures survive in their original frames because of changing ownership: they were re-framed so as to harmonise with different settings, whether in princely galleries or private houses. The way that a picture is framed strongly affects its visual appearance and impact. When a painting retains its original frame, we can appreciate the visual relationship between the two that the artist would have intended. Framings by subsequent owners with different frame styles can tell us much about the taste and priorities of a particular period or place. This book looks at frame history and design in the context of the Ashmolean Museum's collection of frames, and aims to provide a sense of the importance of the picture frame in the history of art as a whole.