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Marti Pattinson

There Really are No Hard & Fast Rules About Family Portraits

Traditionally, portraits were a symbol of affluence and power. They were hung in main entrances or in prominent positions in public rooms where they could be seen and admired by all.

There are still two schools of thought on the subject. One, that a beautiful portrait can greet guests in any public space as a sign of welcome to the home. Two, that a portrait is personal and should be on view for the family in a more private area. Today we can run the gamut between the two. For example, a collection of family portraits is often hung on the wall of the stairs leading from the public to the private space.

Hanging them over the fireplace is a traditional solution and above the couch leans to the contemporary. Make your choice depending on how prominently YOU want them displayed. The first wall a person sees when walking into the room is the most prominent position.

If portraits are the same size and framed similarly, hang them beside each other (within 2 to 4 inches). This will form a horizontal grouping that will echo the lines of the mantel or the couch. Be careful not to hang them to high. Keeping the centre of the piece at eye level is a good rule of thumb.

Published Monday, August 06, 2007 7:22 PM by Marti Pattinson

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