Monday, May 11, 2020
Saturday, April 18, 2020
This over-mantel mirror is in sorry condition. Probably English, 18th century, as soon as I saw it I knew the mirror was replaced (if the mirror was period). Mirrors of this type would not have a single panel of mirror plate; the custom was for three panels, usually with slightly beveled edges, and no wooden dividers between them. This is usually attributed to taxation on large panes of glass or mirror; probably just as likely to the logistics and expense of getting a single large piece.
|Arrival in my elegantly appointed workshop|
|Museum accession label|
The nails holding the panels were modern wire nails, as would be expected with replaced mirror plate. And, as was common with framers years back, cardboard was used between the mirror and dust panels.
|Cardboard a sign that this mirror has been worked on since the 18th century|
|Maybe the workshop was in the theater district?|
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
|Mirror as found|
|Missing section and new casting|
|Casting fitted into position|
Friday, April 3, 2020
|The current skewings jar|
I'm in the middle of another gilding project. While working with gold leaf, you do wind up with small scraps, or "skewings" - the excess gold that did not adhere and gets brushed off the item. It's a good idea to save these since they can come in handy later. For example, touch-up work in crevices or inner areas where these can be pushed in and then the excess removed (remember putting glitter on Elmer's glue when you were in elementary school?).
They can also be used in some decorative painting techniques where they are scattered on a surface.
As you become more experienced as a gilder, you get better at handling and laying leaf, so you don't have as much excess as you might think. This is a jar I've been using for years, and as you can see, it still has room. As for actual gold content, due to the thinness of the leaf, there are only a few grams of gold in there.
You've probably heard the saying "The whole ball of wax" meaning "everything". Some people believed that this came from the practice of picking up the scrap gold with a ball of wax, to be sent for sale at the scrap gold dealer. As it would take a long time to accumulate enough gold to make this worthwhile, someone could walk off with it; - making off with "the whole ball of wax".
These, and other versions are probably just legends. It is believed the true origin of the phrase derived from "the whole bailiwick".
Gilders like our story better.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
|Tools of the trade|
|This mirror was hanging on the wall for a bout a year. Finally stripped paint last month.|
|Now the structural repair begins|
I saw an oval potrait like the one below while previewing an auction. Then remembered I had one just like it in storage waiting for a repair. Now I'll put this in the queue.
|As often happens, edges suffer losses on these ovals|
Not the most extraordinary example, but the reverse painting was intact, the surface of the frame oxidized/aged but not over-painted. Corner elements need repair, but this is usually one of the simplest types of repairs. Currently hanging by the laundry room as a constant reproach. This could be its time!
|All right, all right. I'll get to it.|