Antique framing restoration

Here we were asked to clean this 17th century antique frame for The Yale Centre for British Art.  The frame had a very dark and tarnished appearance which did not benefit from cleaning with liquid.  On closer inspection we believed that the original gilding had been covered over many years by layers of gesso, shellac and bronze paint.  We advised a test area be dry stripped, using a metal tool, to evaluate whether a hidden layer of original gilding lay beneath.  It did indeed, and work was undertaken to strip the entire frame.  Once stripped there proved to be many losses and damages which we then filled, gessoed, applied bole and re gilded using 24 carat gold leaf.  The highest carat was necessary as the antique frame's gilding had such richness that only 24 carat could achieve the desired effect. These newly gilded areas were then worn back down to match the original patina and wear of the antique frame.


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