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Frames & Gilded Objects  Conservation

Not infrequently, frames and other gilded objects are improperly restored with bronze paints, often applied to mask surface abrasions and losses. The paint may have looked acceptable upon application, but over time the metal powders in the paint oxidize and turn dark. Fortunately, bronze paints applied to water gilded surfaces are often easily removed with appropriate solvents. Bronze paint applied over oil gilding is often difficult to remove and in many cases impossible because of the similar solubility of the paint and oil binder.

Frame and gilding preservation treatments often combine elements of conservation and restoration. The combination of materials such as gold and other metal leaf, gesso and bole are inherently delicate and therefore susceptible to various environmental factors. Uneven relative humidity and temperature can affect wood substrates and lead to expansion and contraction. The result is often characterized by cracked and flaking gesso, bole and metal leaf layers.

Treatment Examples (click on each of the images for more information):