SILVER LEAFED MIRROR FRAME CIRCA 1690

ASTON HALL, BIRMINGHAM

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Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The mirror frame before and after conservation treatment.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Before conservation treatment.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Detail before conservation.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Detail before conservation.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Detail before conservation.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The mirror frame dismantled, with the hand-cut nails drilled out and removed.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The sub-frame cleaned, lifting gesso consolidated and an isolation layer applied to the red over-paint.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Gesso losses to the sub-frame filled with an acrylic putty.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The sub-frame re-gessoed using traditional rabbit skin glue and calcium carbonate gesso.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The sub-frame prepared for re-gilding. An acrylic 'bole' was applied and the Palladium leaf was applied using alcohol (water gilding technique). A non-traditional approach was taken for reversibility, as the original silver leaf scheme had been preserved underneath a later gesso and red paint layer.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Frame components stripped back to bare carved pine, removing several delaminating gesso layers and gilding schemes. The original grey bole colour was recorded for later reinstatement.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Gluing and clamping up wood splits, using a protein based adhesive.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Replacing one area of several carving losses with lime wood, which was selected to make later identification possible.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

In-carving of the putti wing.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

An area of the original silver leafed decorative scheme was preserved. The later gesso and gilding scheme had already delaminated. After an isolation layer was applied, the losses were filled with an acrylic putty and an acrylic 'bole' was applied.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The frame components sized and gessoed.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The gesso water polished smooth.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

A grey bole, colour-matched to the original bole sample was applied and burnished to remove brush marks.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Water gilding with Palladium leaf. Palladium leaf was selected instead of silver leaf or white gold to prevent oxidisation (tarnishing).

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Burnishing the Palladium leaf with an agate burnishing stone, to give the impression of solid silver.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Burnished frame components.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Wooden dowels glued into the original nail holes with a protein based adhesive, ready for reassembly.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Careful gluing and clamping up with padded band clamps to prevent damage.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Gluing and clamping up with cushioned quick release clamps.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The dowels trimmed, ready for filling with gesso, bole and gilding.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The mirror frame after conservation.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Putti detail after conservation.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Putti wing after conservation, illustrating the subtle shading wash applied to the deep crevices of the carvings, to enhance the detail.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

The crest after conservation.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Detail of the top left mitre corner after conservation.

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Silver leafed mirror frame c.1690

Detail of a putti face after conservation.