Monday, May 14, 2018

Adding a Pair to a Full House

While not period antiques, this pair of mirrors is very attractive, and are descendants of the way many frames and mirrors were made in the nineteenth century when the use of composition ornament took over from hand carving.

That means, unfortunately, they suffer from the same inherent faults of using compo as their predecessors: wood and compo expand and contract at different rates, and pieces of the molded ornament can lose their grip and fall off. These mirrors had losses (as well as a previous bad repair). 

The mystery is what happened to these large pieces - I suspect someone has an end table with these pieces in the drawer, and has wondered what they belonged to.

Removing a very bad old repair attempt.

While it looks daunting, this is usually a simple repair.

 Another problem with this style of mirror is that when not on the wall, they need to lie flat as there is no way to lean them on an edge without damaging them. This one suffered a break to one bottom swag, breaking the piece and bending the wire armature out of alignment.

When examining these closely, I noticed how they were not identical, due to the way the ornament was applied. While not attaining perfection, these differences indicate that human beings worked on them.

Someone wasn't careful.

The repairs were fairly straightforward - molding and casting, gilding and toning.

Molding and casting replacement sections.

Currently on the wall for their own protection until a suitable packing case arrangement can be built for safely transporting them. Meanwhile, the previous wall occupants have been exiled to storage.