We can assist you with conserving, restoring or refinishing various types of gilded pieces, ranging from picture frames, sculpture and furniture and just about anything else. Please give us a call if you need restoration work to existing gilding or if you have a piece you would like gilded for the first time.
Garden Horse Sculpture
A client in St. James, NY hired us to restore this beautiful
horse garden sculpture. The base had many areas where it had rusted
through, and the body of the horse had also rusted and had a damaged
finish. We sandblasted the piece and restored the base with carbon fiber
matting to reinforce the repairs. We similarly used automotive grade
primer to protect the metal. From a decorative perspective, we then
applied a clay reddish color paint and then gilded gold leaf to the
piece rather than just spraying it with gold paint. The red paint shows
through in select areas for depth and detail to the finish. The piece
was then finished with an automotive clear coat to protect the piece
from the elements.
BEFORE AND IN PROCESS PHOTOS
Museum Quality Frame Restoration
First two Images: Italian 16th century frame with natural damages such as worm wholes, brittleness of gesso and substrate. (Before).
Carefully restored with use of museum quality techniques. (After)
Second two Images: American 19th century frame missing corner ornament (Before).
Corner ornament was cast from other corner, gilded and treated to match existing finish. (After)
Contemporary Frame Restoration- Large Frame
A client with a nice contemporary art collection asked us to restore two painting frames. There was a fire in a neighboring apartment, and as a result, our client's apartment was filled with smoke and needed to be completely cleaned. During the cleaning process, the gold gilding on the frame chipped off. The frame is made of a nice pickled oak, but the gilding was brittle. When we began our restoration work, at least 60% of the gilding easily chipped away. To restore the frame and make it appropriate to the lovely painting, we hand gilded the frame using a traditional water gilding method. We used a gold called Moon Gold, which looks great with the painting.
Painting Frame Restoration- Smaller Frame
Since we were restoring the larger frame (above) for our client, he asked us to restore an additional frame that was damaged when the painting fell off of the wall a year ago (unrelated to the fire damage). Similar to the frame above, the gilding on the manufactured frame was brittle and was already chipping off. In addition, the frame itself was cracked when it fell to the floor. We repaired the damage to the frame itself, and then hand gilded it with Moon Gold gold leaf. The client now has two hand gilded frames which look much more "alive" than the gilding that was on the frames originally. Plus, he will not have any more chipping!
RESTORATION GUIDELINES FOR GILDING
PREPARATION WORK IS CRITICAL IN A PROPER RESTORATION PROJECT AND REQUIRES MUCH CARE AND SKILL.
THE MOST COMMON SUBSTRATE FOR GILDING IS WOOD. OUR PREPARATION WILL
CONSIST OF THE APPLICATION OF GLUE SIZE, GESSO, ORNAMENTS AND CLAY,
TAKING SPECIAL CARE TO MATCH GESSO APPLICATION TECHNIQUES AS WELL AS
MATCHING CLAY AND GOLD COLORS. CUSTOMIZING THE CLAY MAY BE NECESSARY TO
ACHIEVE AN APPROPRIATELY MATCHED COLOR.
RECUTTING GESSO COULD ALSO BE NECESSARY ON BOTH RESTORATION AND
REPRODUCTION FRAMES. WE USE TOOLS SUCH AS CHISELS, DREMELS AND GOUGES
WHEN NECESSARY FOR ADDITIONAL ADJUSTMENTS AND MODIFICATIONS TO PIECES
PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTING STANDARD RESTORATION PROCEDURES. IN ADDITION, WE
CLEAN THE SURFACE OF DIRT, GRIME OR BRONZE FROM ANY IMPROPERLY PERFORMED
PRIOR RESTORATIONS AS NEEDED. IF THERE ARE MISSING ORNAMENTAL PIECES,
WE WOULD REPRODUCE THEM USING FILLS AND CASTINGS MADE FROM DENTAL MOLD
GILDING AND FINISHING
TRADITIONAL WATER OR OIL GILDING MUST BE PROPERLY IDENTIFIED AND USED.
DESIGNS FOR PASTIGLIA, SGRAFFITO, PUNCHWORK, SAND AND PATTERNS AND OIL
GILDED DECORATIONS ARE COMMON ELEMENTS ON FRAMES. TOOLS AND METHODS FOR
EACH WILL DEPEND ON WHAT IS TO BE MATCHED ETC. THE GRAIN OF THE SAND
PATTERN COULD BE FINE OR COARSE, OR THE GOLD UNDER THE SGRAFFITO MAY OR
MAY NOT BE BURNISHED.
PATINATION WILL BE THE LAST STEP ON RESTORATIONS TO MATCH EXISTING
PATINAS. FOR REPRODUCTIONS, WE WILL CONDUCT A SIMILAR PROCESS TO MATCH
IN THE CASE OF REPLICAS, LESS DISTRESSED FRAMES ARE SOMETIMES
REQUESTED, RESULTING IN SLIGHTLY NEWER VERSIONS OF ORIGINALS. WE USE AN
ARRAY OF COLOR MEDIUMS AND TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE FINAL PATINA TONALITY.
TO ACHIEVE CONVINCING PERIOD CHARACTERS. WE PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO
PRODUCE A FAITHFUL REPLICA INCLUDING FINISHING TREATMENTS ON THE BACK
AND OTHER PARTS OF THE PIECE THAT ARE NOT NATURALLY EXPOSED, RANGING
FROM A SIMPLE DISTRESS OF THE WOOD, A DARK PATINATION AND POSSIBLY
CREATING WORMHOLES TO SIMULATE REALISTIC WEAR.