Friday, 11 December 2015

The Blackberry Pickers

Another gothic style frame. I've popped it over an old victorian print of "The Blackberry Pickers"
and it does look rather good. The frame is obeche wood finished to mimic fruitwood and the gilding is watergilded 23.5ct gold.
I'm not sure if watergilding is contemporary to this style of frame but it looks good anyway.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Gothic Frame Finished

The sight edge is watergilded "moon gold" over a red and grey bole; burnished, distressed and toned. The obeche wood is stained, laquered and waxed.

Friday, 6 November 2015

A Gothic Frame

Here is a gothic profile which I've prepared for staining and gilding.

I suppose this profile is called "gothic" because of its' steep high points and ribbed elements. It was the profile of choice for 18th and 19th cent. prints, such a mezzotints and Hogarth engravings. Whilst normally cut from fruitwood, this profile is of simple obeche wood and will be stained and laquered to simulate fruitwood.

The sight edge has been gessoed and this will be watergilded, in this case, with "moon" gold.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Gilding and Patination

Here again is a Georgian style frame, watergilded in 231/2 ct gold.
The patination here is the result of many layers or glazes, carefully built up to give the best impression of age, wear and tear.
Whilst I always thought it should be possible to copy the colour and tone of old gilding with a fairly simple mix of dyes and pigments, experience has shown me otherwise!
For some reason the mixtures are wide and complex and can mean that patination can take up to three days to achieve.

This is a close-up where you can see the effect of distressing the outer edge.
The challenge is to age the gilding without muting the reflectivity of the gold and keep the frame as bright as possible.
An interesting test of successful patination is the degree to which it illuminates an early print or painting.

Monday, 15 June 2015

More Gilded Frames

This is the ever popular Morland style frame. It is a fairly simple scooped profile and works well with early drawings and watercolours. The wide scoop acts as a light, to brighten up the enclosed art-work.

I call this one a thin Georgian style frame. Like the previous frame, the outside rail is strongly distressed and this has the pleasing effect of delineating the frame against it's back-ground.

I suppose I could call this one - a thin neo-classical frame. There's lots of shadow lines in the profile and these reflect well on a mounted drawing.

A very large frame in the Morland style again. There is no applied beading, but the sight edge has been given a complex profile to highlight the art-work.

Finally, an 18th cent. print frame. I call this a Gothic Sanded Slip frame but I've no idea what the true description is. The main elements are the decorative sight edge set against a rough sand finish and contained within a gothic fruitwood profile.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

And another Veneered Frame

This is again a Burr Cluster Elm veneer. I like the way the figuring moves from a tight burr cluster to a wild swirl with colours ranging from yellow, green, dark red to brown.
The greyed watergilded slip lights up the artwork to great effect in these frames.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Birds Eye Maple and other veneers.

Birds Eye maple was a popular veneer for frames in the Victorian and later period. It was particularly suitable for prints and drawings and often used in rustic styles of framing.
The veneer is a very flat, hard and white coloured with it's distinctive birds eye pattern in clusters across the surface.

To create the traditional finish seen on these frames requires several unique processes. The watermark type grain, showing in the photo above, actually disappears  and the birds eye markings are brought out in the first workings on the raw veneer. Further processes reveal a delicate "quilting" effect and a strong contrast of colours throughout the finished veneer.

After several coats of thellac, the frame is given an antique glaze to improve it's tone and finished with two coats of wax.

The slip used here is the traditional double scoop profile with the inner scoop burnished to contrast the outer matt distressed edging. Gilding is with 23 1/2 ct gold.
Another veneer to use is Burr cluster Elm.

This veneer is easier to work than birds eye maple, in that it takes stains well and makes a good substitute for burr Walnut. With careful finishing it can show a pleasing relief pattern in it's grain.
Because of it's complex burr, there can be a tendency not to glue well on the frame substrate and show blisters on the finished surface. This can be overcome with strong pressure when gluing the veneer.

Finally there is the ever popular Rosewood frame.

The veneer here is Crown Rio Rosewood. This is an expensive wood but veneers well onto the frame.It has a very strong colour, so does require care not to darken the wood too much during finishing. The aim here is to tone the colour and add depth to the finish.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

12 Phases of the Moon

This is a series of 12 chromolithographs depicting the phases of the moon.
Each has been float mounted and raised from the black backing board.
Here the frame is a casetta style profile in stained and laquered obeche. The gold is watergilded, burnished and toned.


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Chinese Watercolours

This is one of a set of 24 Chinese watercolours relating to early China Trade Art. The frames are watergilded and include a small ribbed insert, coloured dark brown, to highlight the art.

The insert here also acts as a spacer to separate the glass from the artwork.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Toning and Ageing a small Morland Frame

This is a small Morland style frame that I have aged and toned to suit framing an antique print.
The frame has been watergilded on a pine base with applied compo beading.

And here is the frame after gilding.

As you can see, the effect is rather startling!

So first things first, I knock about the outer edges. This softens the new, hard image of the frame.
Then the gilding is gently rubbed with light abrasives to wear down the gold. Most wear will appear on the outer edge.

Next the frame is cleaned up, polished and burnished on the outer rail.

So now the frame is worn and battered-about looking, - but still too bright to accept an antique print.

Glazes, lots of glazes are now applied to the frame. The challenge is to age the appearance of the gold but still retain the colour and reflectivity of old gilding.

And this is what you get.