A GEORGES JACOB GILTWOOD ARMCHAIR (1778)

WADDESDON MANOR

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A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Armchair at Waddesdon Manor before conservation treatment.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Armchair before conservation.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Armchair with the upholstery removed and clamped up after structural consolidation.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A heated spatula was used to flatten the uneven tack rail.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Detail illustrating the clamped repairs. The use of Perspex blocks allows for correct positioning and prevents the wood from bruising.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Prop sticks were utilised as a method for clamping. Small holes were drilled into the packing wood, to prevent the sticks from moving out of position.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The tack damage was consolidated by injecting a solution of Paraloid B72 and acetone, into the holes. The tack holes were sized with a protein based adhesive and were then filled with a stiff pigmented filler, consisting of a protein glue, pigments and glass micro-balloons.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The water gilding and gesso was humidified with a hand steamer to allow it to be carefully removed with steel dental tools.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Methylene chlorine based paint and varnish remover was used to remove the oil gilding.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Wax residue in the deep crevices. This needed to be removed otherwise the new gilding scheme could delaminate.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A cleaning gel was formulated to draw out the residual wax and oils from the armchair. After cleaning, UV light was used to check for any remaining wax deposits to be removed.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Detail of the carving to the armchair after stripping and gel cleaning to remove the wax.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Balsa wood was glued into the gaps between the joints and was later trimmed to the correct profile.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A new walnut patch to a loss on the right-hand side armrest.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Walnut patches applied to the front right chair leg.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The patches carved to the correct profile in the front right chair leg.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Using a paper join, a detached rosette was attached to an MDF board. Paper templates were made so the leaf tip losses could be replaced.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The replacement leaf tips were cut on a bandsaw, glued in place and were then carved. After removal from the MDF, the rosettes were glued to a piece of silk. The excess silk around the rosette was trimmed.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A rosette securely attached to the armchair, using a protein glue and wooden dowels, utilising the old panel pin holes.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The chair frame was sized with a parchment size. Gesso putty made with parchment glue and calcium carbonate (whiting) was used to repair small losses, holes and imperfections.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Following the size layer, claircolle (a ‘thin-white’ coat of gesso made with calcium carbonate and parchment size) was applied, following traditional 18th century French practise.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Several coats of gesso made with parchment size and calcim carbonate were applied.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Detail of the gesso work. A section of the 19th century English ‘parcel gilding’ scheme, was consolidated and preserved as a record, to the back of the armchair.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The gesso, water polished and sanded smooth and the detail to the carving re-cut (reparer) with gesso hooks. A little yellow ochre size wash is visible, made with parchment size and yellow ochre pigment.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

Armenian red bole mixed with parchment size was applied and burnished in preparation for water gilding. A French gold leaf, Citron K (22.9cts) was selected for the gilding as French late 18th century gilding tended to be a lemon shade, cool in tone. As gold was beaten entirely by hand in 1778, a double thickness gold leaf was used, as gold leaf is machine beaten today and only hand beaten at the end of the process.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The flats surrounding the carved elements were burnished with an agate burnishing stone. Care was taken not to burnish more areas than perhaps might have been burnished originally. With this in mind areas were burnished following a standard formula which appeared to be consistent on Jacob furniture.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The gilding was given a protective coating of parchment size. In toning and colouring the gilding to bring out the detail, earth pigments were mixed with parchment size and were applied by brush to the deep recesses only.

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

A Georges Jacob giltwood armchair

The conserved armchair on display in a temporary exhibition, seat on a mirror to view the chair frame and upholstery underneath. The armchair was conservation re-upholstered to replicate the original scheme in Italian velvet and taffeta, dyed English Green with a trim coloured violet, green and white, attached with cut diamond shaped and gilded upholstery nails. Following an exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London, the armchair has returned to Waddesdon Manor.