Italian reproduction frame with sgraffito decoration

This image shows a corner detail of an Italian 16/17th century reproduction frame we produced.  The gold arabesque work to the frieze is called sgraffito, a technique achieved by painting a layer of tempera (usually black but sometimes a dark blue or burgundy) directly onto the gilded surface.  The arabesque design is drawn onto the tempera; a tool is then used to scratch through the painted surface following the drawings to reveal the gold beneath.  It is a lengthy process, but when complete offers a unique contrast between the tempera's matt appearance and the luster of the gold.  The entire frame is then distressed and aged to replicate the 16/17th century.  The commission was from Paul Mitchell Ltd.