Frame Restoration & Conservation
At P.H. Miller Studio, we practice conservation and restoration of antique frames, mirrors, and carved or gilded objects.
Many ask us the difference between conservation and restoration. Conservation is the practice of preserving an object from further deterioration, while restoration means returning an object to its original form and function.
Our services include: stabilizing wooden structure; consolidating friable and delaminating materials; recreating lost carved and cast ornament; and restoring finishes. We take painstaking care to preserve as much of the original finish as possible. All repairs are toned to match the original finish of the piece.
Please feel free to contact us with any inquiries. We typically ask for rough dimensions and a series of photos before we can provide a price estimate.
Restoration and Conservation Projects
19th Century Overmantle Neoclassical Mirror Restoration
This frame came to the studio structurally intact, but the finish needed restoration. Someone previously painted over the original gilded surface with gold paint. Removing the over-paint revealed that the frame was originally oil gilded and water gilded over yellow, red, and gray clay bole. However, the surface was very worn and little of the original gold leaf remained intact. After consulting with the client, we completely re-gilded the frame to its original specifications.
Early 19th Century Italian Frame Conservation
The early 19th century ornate Italian mirror frame had several breaks in the hand carved laurel leaf swags. Many prior repairs were failing, and cellophane tape held some pieces together. The original gilding was in relatively good condition and only required minor repairs. We made all the necessary structural repairs and replaced the missing leaves. All the original finish was left intact and the new leaves were toned to match.
17th or 18th Century Gilded English or French Frame Conservation
The small English or French frame, most likely a looking glass, was brought to the studio with several carved flowers entirely or partially missing. The scope of work required was to replace the missing flowers with cast reinforced gesso and repair the partial losses. After the leaves were fitted and reattached to the frame, the gesso was recut to define the details and refine the shape of each repaired leaf. Bole was applied and the new surfaces were carefully water gilded. The new gilding was toned to completely match the original gilding on the frame.
Mid 19th Century Hudson River School American Frame Conservation
This 19th century Hudson River School portrait frame required topical cleaning and to remove the layer of dust and soot typical on frames from this period. The frame had many losses, and much of the remaining gesso and composition ornaments were delaminating. After a lengthy consolidation process, we filled the gesso losses and replaced the missing ornaments with cast replicas. Some areas of the original gilded finish were heavily worn and required re-gilding. All repairs were gilded with 23kt gold leaf and toned to match the original surface.