I was commissioned to restore two large 19th century American picture frames. The frames had not been cleaned in over 30 years and the ornate floral and fruit ornamentation was damaged. Initial cleaning revealed the frames had been touched up with metallic enamel paint and were badly soiled with coal soot and years of grime. The elements of compo fruit and leaves missing or damaged needed to be recast and attached to the cleaned surfaces. Build up of gesso areas and gilding brought the frames back to their original condition. Both oil and water gilding methods were used.
I was able to date the frames by the unique sand-cast pattern on the curved inner frame, used in the Boston area in the mid 1800's. Research is always a significant and enjoyable initial stage in each project.