More Lacquer

green lacquer panel_8327_wpl

Green Lacquer Panel

H  52″   W  30″

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White Lacquer Panels

The panels shown above were made to be installed in a similar manner to those shown under the heading “White Lacquer Panels-Residential Powder Room”. The lines indicate the borders of each separate panel.

The total size is approximately 5′ high by 15′ long.

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green-lacquer-mural-wpl rs [1]

Green Lacquer Panels

This image is actually a photo of a set of panels, created in the same way as the white panels shown above. The panels were “assembled” in Photoshop to display the entire design without interruption. The individual panels were ultimately installed on walls within gilded moldings.

The total size is approximately 5′ high by 15′ long.

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Black Lacquer Table Top

The photo above is of the top of an antique Chinese Canton lacquer table. The table was fully decorated overall, except for the top. I was asked to create something in the appropriate style, with an aged appearance.

 

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Chinese Tables

Chinese altar table_8688wpl

Chinese Alter Table

H  34″      W  68.5″      D  21″

Antique, restored

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Chinese side table 1_8589wpl

Chinese Table

H  33″      W  39″      D  19.5″

Antique, restored

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Regency Lacquer Cabinet

Regency lacquer cabinet 1_8511wpl

Regency Lacquer Cabinet

H  40″      W  48″      D  20″

Custom commission, one of a pair

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Regency lacquer cabinet 1 sideview_8512wpl

Angle view

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Cabinet 1 Top

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cabinet-1-doors-and-sides rs 5000

Cabinet 1 Curved Doors and Sides

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Cabinet 2 Top

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cabinet-2-doors-and-sides[1] rs 5000

Cabinet 2 Curved Doors and Sides

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English Landscape Mural

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English Landscape Mural

The photo above, taken in our studio, shows one of a set of painted panels that together form a mural in the style of an English landscape.

The composition was designed  by the artist Dianna Nelson, with whom I frequently collaborate; on this project I worked as her assistant. The art work was executed in oil on canvas.

The photos below show some of the art work before installation. More images of the mural can be seen on Dianna’s web site:

Home/Portfolio

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Papier Mâché Tray

 

Tray after

 

Papier Mâché Tray Restoration

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The photo above shows an English papier mâché tray after restoration. It had arrived in my studio with a damaged corner, and a few small pieces, all that remained of the original breakage.

Tray before 2

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After some consideration, and various trials, I concluded that the incomplete fragments were not enough to work with to rebuild the corner, and ultimately were of little use. I could think of no other solution than to reconstruct the corner with new material.

First I consolidated the slightly delaminated paper along the broken edge of the tray with an adhesive; at this time I also inserted some small wooden pins into the edge to anchor the epoxy putty that I would use to build the new corner. I then made a mold of the under side of the opposite corner of the tray, which I used as a support to create the shape of the new corner with putty.

Mold 1

Purple colored mold supporting the putty material.

mold 2

Removal of the mold after the putty had set.

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After smoothing and shaping the primary surface of the new corner, I finished the underside as well.

mold 4

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Finally, I painted the new area black, added the gilded decoration, and distressed the restored area to blend it in with the surrounding original surface.

Tray after 1

Restored corner above, another angle below with less glare.

Tray after 2

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Pair of Painted Mirrors

 

Mirror after

Restoration of a Pair of English Rococo Mirrors

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The mirror shown above is one of a pair. The carving of both is almost identical, the only noticeable difference being that one of the birds faces left, the other right.

When they first arrived in my studio, they looked much different, as can be seen in the photo below.

Mirror before

Their present condition was very poor, and it was difficult to determine what their original finish might have been. At some point, there had been an attempt to give them a gilded appearance by applying a gold-colored paint. Usually these coatings are composed of metallic pigments (sometimes called bronze powders) in an oil medium, which over time typically tarnish to a dark, greenish-brown color, as was the case here. Also clearly visible was a red paint color, most likely a part of the intended gilding effect.

The first task was to attend to the structural repairs. The photos below illustrate just a few of the problem areas.

mirror before 1mirror before 2

mirror before 4mirror before 3

Some new parts were roughly carved and attached to replace the missing pieces; these were later finessed to blend in with the adjacent areas. A few of these are shown below.

repair 1repair 2

repair 3repair 4

repair 5repair 6

With the frames structurally sound, we began the process of removing the paint layers down to the wood.

paint removal 1paint removal 2

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After cleaning,  there were some traces of gesso visible but no other signs of previous water gilding, or any other finish that might be construed as original.

After paint removal cr

Detail after cleaning

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It was decided to follow the client’s first inclination, which was to paint the mirrors white. Below are some detail photos of the final paint finish.

 Finish detail 1Finish detail 2

Finish detail 3finish detail 4

finish detail 5Finish detail 6

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Red Lacquer Clock Case

Red lacquer clock ARed lacquer clock B

Red Lacquer Clock Case Restoration

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Shown above are two views, front and rear, of an English red lacquer clock case, after restoration. (In these photos, the case does not yet have the ormolu handle, finials, and other ornaments installed).

Upon initial examination, there were some typical losses of the lacquer decoration overall, but clearly the most severe damage had occurred on the top areas, as shown in the detail photo below.

Red lacquer clock detail before

My goal was to consolidate the remaining decoration, and then try to recreate the lost portions of the images around these fragments. In these situations, I find it helpful to look at as many other contemporary sources as I can find, e.g. lacquer clocks and other furniture, as a guide to imagine what the original images might have looked like. For example, the photo shown below is of a table top attributed to Giles Grendey (1693–1780) that was probably produced not long before our clock case. Though the art work on our clock case is more naïve, these types of references can still be quite useful.

Grendey table top

With the aid of many similar examples, and by carefully studying the existing fragments of decoration, I attempted to piece together the images as shown below.

1 Front before

Front before

5 Front after

Front after

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2 Rear before

Rear before

6 Rear after

Rear after

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3 Left before

Left before

7 Left after

Left after

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4 Right before

Right before

8 Right after

Right after

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Sheraton Chair

Sheraton Chair

English Sheraton Chair Restoration

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The photo above shows an English Sheraton side chair, one of a large set of dining chairs. The chair had accidently fallen and suffered damage in several areas. At the time this photo was taken, I had already addressed most of the issues; the one remaining area that still needed attention was the upper right corner, where the stile meets the top rail. The corner had shattered from impact; when I initially received the chair, the smaller pieces from this corner could not be found.

 The photos below show closer views of this area before I assembled the pieces that I possessed.

corner assembly 1corner assembly 2

corner assembly 3corner assembly 4

After assembly of the pieces shown above, I had reached the stage shown in the opening photo. Below is a closer view of the corner.

 Sheraton chair back 2 sk rs

Rather than try to restore this area myself, I decided to take the chair to my colleague, Neil Layne, a gilder/carver in Southport Ct. I knew that he would be able to provide a solution for replacing the missing pieces more effectively than I could.

Sheraton chair back 3

Front view of the new carving

Sheraton chair back 4

Side view, illustrating the wedge shaped piece attached

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At this point, I completed the finish work, matching the new piece to the surrounding wood as closely as I could.

Sheraton chair back 5

Front view

Sheraton chair back 6

Top view

Sheraton chair back 7

The chair restoration completed.

Coromandel Screen

 

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Chinese Coromandel Screen Restoration

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The photo above is of a fine, old, large Coromandel screen (12 panels, each 1.5 ‘ by 9’). It was taken after I had completed my restoration work.

When I first examined the screen, I was dismayed to see the evidence of so many previous attempts at trying to keep the screen together, and aware of the difficulties I would face in my own efforts.

Apparently, most of the problems were the result of movement of the wood, and deterioration of the ground coating that lies between the wood and the visible lacquer surface. Another obstacle in trying to improve it’s appearance was that various pigmented and clear coatings had been applied in many areas, evidently to disguise losses and discoloration of the original lacquer. These varnish materials being Western in origin (as opposed to Eastern lacquer), their use had only contributed to the screen’s deterioration.

The photos below illustrate some of the problems encountered.

Loss 1

Loss

Loss 2

Loss

loss 3

Loss

Blistering

Blistering

Delamination

Delamination

Splitting

Splitting

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Ultimately, it was all I could do to just consolidate all of the loose areas, and fill/inpaint the losses with appropriate conservation materials.

Reattaching lacquer

Consolidation of fragile pieces

Securing loose lacquer

Adhesion with light pressure from clamps and sandbags.

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By the time I had finished, the screen was definitely more stable, and it’s appearance had improved considerably.

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Papier Mâché Table

CC table 1

Papier Mâché Table Restoration

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Shown above is an English papier mâché table, after restoration.

Upon examination in my studio, most of the surface appeared to be in good condition; a light cleaning and a small amount of inpainting was all the surface required.

There were a few structural issues to address. On the base, one of the legs was somewhat loose, preventing the table from being used. Looking closely, it was apparent that a previous attempt to re-glue the leg had not been successful. In order to remedy this, the leg would have to come off to re-attach it properly. The photos below show the leg as it arrived, and after removal from the column.

CC table 3

Previous repair

CC table 4

Leg detached

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After thoroughly cleaning the area, the leg was re-attached.

CC table 5

The other area to consider was the perimeter of the top. Table edges are always vulnerable to impact; with papier mâché objects any accidental collision can crush the relatively soft material, causing delamination of the layers of paper. These areas need to be carefully glued and clamped under light pressure to avoid deforming the shape.

CC table 6

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One final consideration: the papier mâché top is attached to a solid piece of wood underneath, which is then hinged onto a small block of wood attached to the top of the column. This allows the top to tilt from a horizontal position (when in use) to a vertical position (when on display). The wood under the top had warped somewhat over time, slightly bending the papier mâché top with it. A decision was made to leave this as is, rather than risk further damage by trying to correct it.

The photo below shows the restored table standing up straight, with the top showing a very slight slant.

CC table 2

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