BEFORE/DURING/AFTER ✨ details below:
This impressive Dutch Golden Age Baltic oak panelled painting by Hendrick de Meyer (1620 - 1689), of the traditional Fish market on the beach at Scheveningen, just outside The Hague, arrived in our studio earlier this year. It had been bought many years back and neglected, and was dangerously loose in the frame.
🛠HOW WE HELPED 🖌We spent months attending to it, removing the staggeringly amateur retouching of old and bringing the painting back to life. Much of the dark foreground had been brutally over cleaned and the dogs were all but obliterated, along with much of the intricate detail. We found pentimenti (hidden preparatory drawings) beneath past retouching and have left much of it in place so that future connoisseurs might witness the artist's original vision for the composition.
FRAMEWORK 🔧The cassetta designed frame was cleaned and conserved. We laid fresh maple veneer within the centre of the moulding, waxed with Antique Pine and Teak and inserted a 'lambs' tongue' shaped inner slip to embrace the panel more firmly within the frame and added gesso, bole and 22 carat gold leaf. The transformation was our reward!
This dazzlingly beautiful portrait in its stunning Sunderland frame has recently been completed by our studio, and returned to our thrilled clients.
Both the painting AND frame had suffered catastrophic damage in the past, when the family home was destroyed. We removed ALL the invasive retouching and, painstakingly, retouched it.
The frame was treated with immense care as well and freshly gilded with 22 carat gold leaf, and then 'distressed' to age it so that both painting and Mannerist Sunderland frame can now sing with joy!
Here is the next in our exciting series of conserved portraits and frames:
This handsome portrait has returned to the family after a generation or two, much to their excitement. We were invited to conserve it prior to her returning home and this involved removing many layers of unnecessary over-paint. Once that was all gone the exquisite quality of the sitter's dress was revealed in all its majesty. It was an honour to work on such a glorious Grand Manner portrait and to attend to the beautiful frame.
This exquisite Pieter Verelst (1616/18 – 1678) portrait came to us for conservation from one of the most significant private collections in this country.
It needed to be given a very gentle clean to remove decades of engrained dirt and a much-darkened varnish. As a work on Baltic oak panel, it was in truly remarkable condition, largely owing to the quality of the artist's work and that of his panel maker. The French Louis XIVth carved and gilded frame, was very much the fashion of the time. As the great French king was one of the movers and shakers of the western world, and Dutch old masters were regularly framed in this style to fit in with the Parisienne style.
This is a very fine example of the period being beautifully carved and gilded, however, I prefer to see paintings of this quality and period framed in their Dutch 'livery', in fine wide ripple mouldings made from ebony or amboyna that set them off and place them within the context of their roots – the magnificent Dutch Golden Age.
This exceptional stone coat of arms was brought to us for conservation from a Crusader castle in Gascony. It had been found under the floor boards and the clients were overjoyed!
It had, in fact, been restored before with over zealous, much yellowed, glue. We removed this and repaired the stone, cleaning, stabilising and improving the colour. Finally we added sections to balance the piece and improved the lower cill so that it can now sit, without support, on its base, and it will shortly be returned to its original home.
We wanted to make something incredibly sensitive and deferential so that the beauty of this exquisite carved and gilded door shone through whilst at last being returned to use. Much of the carving of the Lamb of God had broken away over the centuries and this we replicated, carving the missing sections before adding gesso, and regilding it throughout on a terracotta bole base.
We then constructed the 'cabinet', replicating the contour of the tabernacle door, adding the same style of beading and we felt a soft terracotta / pink wash would be the most appropriate colouring to enable the original carving to shine once more in all its glory!