Eighteenth Century Picture Frame
Restored by Aga Sawczuk for James Sumsion, Langford Hall, Newark
This is the original frame to a contemporary copy of a large Gainsborough oil painting. It was in a extremely poor state when we received it. Many of the gesso mouldings were missing, much of the original gold had been lost or was hidden under layers of bronze coloured paint. It was also extremely dirty.
Christine Kavanagh of Castlegate Antiques in Newark brought the frame to us and oversaw the commission.
The first stage was to remove the accumulations of dirt and old paint from frame to discover the extent of the damage. After consolidating what was there the labourious and highly skilled process of creating new mouldings was begun (middle right and left). Using specialised moulding materials, copies were made of the existing decorations which were then fixed into place.
Next they were covered in several layers of gesso and smoothed. This in turn was covered by layers of bole, a coloured gesso which is the base for the gilding. Red bole is a common base for gilding but often in the eighteenth century, as was the case here, a particular shade of yellow was used.
Gold leaf was applied. Some areas were oil gilded but the relief mouldings were water gilded and burnished (bottom left).
Finally the new gilding was gently distressed to match with the original areas (bottom right).