Frames are both functional items and decorative objects with artistic value. They are integral to the presentation of the object and should secure the painting while enhancing its appearance. Frames are often more complex than they appear, and their preservation depends on proper care and treatment.
Framing a painting appropriately is an important part of the conservation process. Often, older framing methods can be damaging to an art work. For instance, metal parts corroding, adhesive tape damaging the surface, and acidic backing or mounting materials. These hazards should be eliminated by replacing damaging materials with conservation-grade, archival alternatives.
Frame Restoration Process
Antique frames are traditionally made of gesso and carved and gilded wood. Frames are vulnerable to the same deteriorations as paintings. They are often redecorated, modified or replaced, and are especially vulnerable to damage during handling and transport.
Removing dust from a frame is the most common and significant step in frame conservation. It should be done regularly to prevent build up of a dirt layer. Small chips and cracks in a frame or delamination of the surface should be repaired using an appropriate conservation-grade adhesive.
Large areas of loss can be restored by creating moulds from another part of the frame or sculpting free-hand. Reconstructed elements of the ornament are then re-attached and a base color is applied. Next, the elements of the ornament are colored to match the gilding.