is to repair the damaged part(s) of a frame and or to replace the missing parts
Traditional restoration of frames of paintings and mirrors has become an almost
- extinct craft. To acquire the centuries old craftsmanship knowing the
authentic materials and how to use them requires a thorough training,
experience, professional knowledge and a sense of colour.
only that, because the ethical restorer needs a faultless sense of where to
start and where to stop the restoration in order to conserve the authenticity of
the frame. He needs to have the knowledge of the application of patinas and
pigments at his fingertips and never to lose the overall view.
To patinate the renovated part of a frame, for instance after gilding it, is to
adapt the colour of the newly restored part of the frame to the old original
colour of the non-restored part of the frame. The only way to do this is by
using authentic materials and the traditional methods. Proper restoration would
not be possible with modern materials and methods.
Restoration of a frame can consist of replacing missing parts of and/or
ornaments renovating dried out parts or parts where the gilding is worn, or
repairing damage by damp. Quite frequently prior restorations will have to be
removed before the proper restoration can start, failing which a good result –
meaning the restoration is invisible – can not be realised. Other causes of
frame damage are nicotine- or soot film and woodworm, the latter quite
restoration using the traditional methods requires the restorer to mix his own
materials, to fabricate patine, liquid and mouldable pâte, French polish,
binding agent and bronzing material before the restoration can start.
of the most, if not the most, important material for restoration, is a tacky
mixture of chalk, silk tissue, bone-glue and water. It is used to make moulds
and casts. In the old days casts where pushed in moulds which were made of
plaster of parish, gelatine or coagulated sulphur. The use of sulphur has been
prohibited for some time. But not only consist of natural ingredients but
because of its elasticity it is by far superior to work with.
To patinate is to adapt the colour of the restored part of the frame to the
existing colour of the frame by applying an oxidising film or bronzing it. I
regularly use inorganic pigments to make a restoration as authentic as possible.
Inorganic pigments are disintegrated rocks, also called earth pigments. Minerals
and earth pigments can often be used as colouring agents. They must be ground
and mixed with a binding agent.
derives from the Latin “pigmentum”,
which means paint. Although pigment is a substance which reflects a colour and
has a specific colour it can only be called paint after mixing it with a binding
agent (such as egg, water or oil). Without a binding agent pigments do not
attach easily to an object.
The most frequent activities in
connection with a restoration are the fabrication of moulds and casts, the
modelling of corner pieces (so called: “noggins”) and the filling of one or more
mitres. For all this pâte is used.
For gilding 21-23 and 24 carats yellow
and white gold-leaf is used.
Three techniques are used depending on
the desired result:
Glue gilding: Egg shell finish
Oil gilding: Glossy result, cannot
be further polished
gilding: High gloss attainable after polishing with an agate.
To attain a vivid result sometimes a
bolus film is applied. Bolus is clay soil, which mixed with glue is called poliment. It can be red, black or brown. Instead of gilding with yellow or white
gold-leaf, silver-leaf, copper-leaf or bronze powder can be used. Copper-leaf is
much cheaper than gold-leaf. Nevertheless beautiful results can be obtained.