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.