The conservation for this exquisite silver gilt commemorative sword has just been completed and we have now also finished building a beautiful bespoke display cabinet for it.
The sword was presented to our client's ancestor by the Non-Commissioned officers and privates of the North Devon Yeomanry Cavalry, to their colonel, in 1839. The previous cabinet must have been made just before WWII and it had since become riddled with woodworm. The slightly domed glass has long since broken, allowing moths and other insects to penetrate and the pieces to become badly discoloured.
Our cabinet was made from flat woods and carved bead profiles, covered with three coats of gesso, then a soft terracotta wash on the internal structure. We chose to place the sword and scabbard on their side upright like fish swimming in parallel, so that future viewers might be able to see from both sides. For the base we chose a blue velvet to highlight the sword's colours. The outer structure received several layers of terracotta bole, then a fine layer of black, before being waxed, distressed, and polished. The base moulding was then gilt before we added a new plaque. All the glass was the finest UV filter as to best preserve the materials inside.
Just look how this simple display has transformed the way we see the sword and scabbard, now visible in all their glory!
This charming watercolour by Leon Morrocco (b. 1984), ''Passing Lipari, Sicily'' was bought in the above frame which closely resembles a Chrysler mudguard!
We decided to ecco the movement of the water in this maritime scene by making an undulating frame with vertical ripples. This structure was then covered with gesso and white gold leaf before being finished with a soft terracotta pink wash and light waxes, that pick up the tender colouring in this charming watercolour.
To pull the whole thing together, we asked our friends at Artists Name Plates to make an antique gold plaque to attach to the frame.
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 exquisite Roman Jar with twin handles from the 3rd-4th century AD was acquired recently from Charles Ede Ltd, the Ancient Art, Antiquities Gallery run by Charis Tyndall. Our brief was to create a case to protect and display it. Over the past few weeks we have crafted from scratch this delicate cabinet using seasoned wood, gesso, bole, white gold, soft terracotta washes and waxes, where it could be held in place, as though floating, as a stand alone treasure trove of wonders. Italian flecked antique mirror glass set at three different angles behind the jar, illuminate this glorious piece in the round. The carved ripple floor to the cabinet adds lustre to the appearance of this rare, intact piece and complements its delicate colouring. This tender cabinet of wonders is one of the loveliest pieces we have ever had the privilege to make!
This magnificent, exceptionally large, early 19th century Napoleonic French Prisoner-of war bone model for a first-rate ship of the line, with a hundred guns, needed a cabinet that matched the quality of the model's craftsmanship.
With very little time we set to work making the case from scratch which was in itself a challenge giving its need to be at least a metre and a half in length. We decided that the base should simulate the sea. To achieve this we combined a carved ripple moulding, and inlaid beading and twisted rope. Many layers of gesso were applied prior to washing the base with a soft pale blue wash, whilst a terracotta wash was applied to the uprights. A simple cassetta moulding was used to surround the lower platform and fluted vertical mouldings to hold the UV glass in place. These were trimmed with a twisted rope motif. Rather than place UV glass on all four sides of the cabinet, it seemed unusual to reflect the model by placing a back of Italian antique flecked mirror glass, thus adding further sparkle to its existing splendour. The case was finished with a black bole on a terracotta base, and remains accessible through a side door with two elegant brass handles, so the vessel can be placed one way, or other, as our client desires. This commission was truly a labour of love and a fitting tribute to the extraordinary craftsmanship of those prisoners of war over two hundred years ago.