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ART CONSERVATION, GILDING & FRAME RESTORATION

A rare combination of capabilities come into play in the course of a successful and sensitive painting conservation. To restore a damaged painting back to its former glory takes a conservator with years of training, experience and natural talent.

We work closely with Lucy Blumenthal who undertakes Painting Conservation and Restoration to the highest international museum standards. She is an Active member of SAPCON (South African Preservation and Conservation Organisation). Qualifications and Experience BA Fine Arts, The Queen’s Chapel Savoy, International internships including working as part of a team restoring paintings in Dublin Castle, University of Northumbria at Newcastle upon Tyne- UK, Wits MA Conservation of Fine Art (Easel Paintings), Westminster Castle.

The purpose of paper conservation or restoration work is to preserve and restore works on paper and make them accessible for exhibition, sale or study by reversing many conditions and preserving the paper for future generations. Due to the paper manufacturing processes and framing practices of the past, many works on paper, documents, drawings, maps and photographs are now brittle, acid burned, faded, torn and stained.

Gerda Engelbrecht has maintained a private practice for over 20 years, focusing on the conservation of works of art on paper. She obtained a master’s degree in paper conservation from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, Uk. Between 1980 – 1995 she worked for the Pretoria Art Museum, Unisa Art Gallery and the Durban Art Museum.

Gilding picture frames date back hundreds of years. There are two types of gilding, water gilding and oil gilding. We mainly use oil gilding with imitation gold, known by many as “artificial gold leaf”. This alloy is always composed of a mix of copper and zinc in various percentages depending on the desired shade. The metal alloy is beaten out using the same process as genuine gold, but it is thicker and cheaper. Imitation silver leaf, instead, is composed of 100% aluminum and copper leaf is 100% copper.

The process is done by hand with a unique outcome every time.  The art of laying the leaf and the subtle layers of various finishing techniques is an extension of your art as we aim to achieve the perfect balance between art and frame. Please be patient…  Enquire about gilding with pure gold. This is a costly and even more time consuming process.

With sound knowledge of frame manufacture and finishing, we can restore and give new life to antique frames. After evaluating the condition we will suggest the best options going forward with full restoration or a new replica. Antique frames often need cleaning, repair of broken pieces, restoration of gilded surfaces, joining and reinforcing damaged corners. This process is extremely time consuming and cannot be rushed. However, our main restorer has been doing this for nearly 30 years and will keep going until it is right.