Every year we like to celebrate the diverse and wonderful restoration work that has been completed in our studio. The most memorable pieces often have stories and a lot of hard work behind them, so we have asked our office team and conservators to tell us about their favourite projects of 2022.
Wik is a long-standing member of our gilding room, working on various projects that require frame conservation, historically accurate retouching and the expert remodelling of missing parts. He works with a lot of diverse antiques and his favourite projects certainly reflect this.
“My most memorable projects have to be the frame that I made entirely by myself, a Boulle cabinet and a gilded table. The frame was created as the circular artwork was too big for any off-the-shelf versions from our suppliers, so I crafted it to our client’s specifications and it was a great result and the client loved it!
Above: a detail from the boulle cabinet that Wik worked on this year
The Boulle cabinet was a unique piece of furniture with a very sweet decoration of birds and cherries that I had fun recreating and colour-matching. The gilt table was a beautiful design that I very much enjoyed working on.”
Jenny works in our Carlisle studio as the vital go-between for our clients and the work that is carried out by our painting and frame conservators. Her favourite projects always have a story behind them as she enjoys engaging with our clients to find out more about their treasured objects.
“My favourite projects of 2022 have been an early 20th century painting by Dean Cornwell and a 19th century piece by Johan Barthold Jongkind.
When the Dean Cornwell painting first came in, I was struck by how dramatic it was. It has quite a gothic and mysterious feel to it, and I was intrigued by the story the painting was showing. At first, it looked as though the lady was trying to escape from something or someone.
Above: the Dean Cornwell before, during and after conservation work
Over the course of the updates I shared with our client and our communication, it actually became apparent that the lady was not trying to escape her fate, but rather she had just entered a prison to help her jailed partner to escape. She is actually holding a pistol behind her back and this detail became clearer when our conservator Sophie started the restoration work.
Cornwell was one of the leading American illustrators, especially in the 1920s. This piece was used to illustrate The Valley of the Giants by Peter B. Kyne, a novel that follows a family living in California from the 1850s through to the early 20th century. It was fantastic to see more details as the restoration went on, revealing more of the painting’s story.
Above: the Jongkind painting before and after restoration
The restoration of the Jongkind painting and its gilt frame also stands out for me, as it was very important to our client’s family history and they were so pleased with the result. We wrote a case study about the painting and that was also very much appreciated by the owner. It was wonderful to be able to share their story.”
Jo handles enquiries when a client first comes to us for help, so she sees a lot of very unique and outstanding works of art and specialist objects every day. Her restoration of the year is one of our most unusual projects.
Above: this Egyptian prop was Jo’s favourite restoration
“My favourite restoration has been the revival of King Tut – a massive Egyptian sarcophagus prop that had originally been used in adverts and The Avengers television show. Seeing our expert Dean stabilise and recreate the missing colours was amazing!”
Amelia works in our framing room alongside Wik and Frank. She is skilled at decorative object restoration, including frames and ceramics.
Above: Amelia working on a gilt frame in our studio
“I have worked on a lot of interesting frames this year. I love rejuvenating the dirty and damaged antique decoration – the result is always very satisfying. I also like looking into the history of the frames in my care as there are endless combinations of motifs and styles.”
Danielle creates on our many articles and case studies, as well as social media posts and bespoke framing portfolios.
“My favourite restoration of 2022 is the broken panel that our conservators worked on at the beginning of the year. As well as a very dramatic breakage, the piece was very discoloured. Seeing the true colours show through was wonderful. As part of my job I get to research the artworks that come to our studio and this was a great one to look into.
Above: Danielle’s favourite restoration was this broken panel with a painting after Gabriel Metsu
The painting was a very good copy of Gabriel Metsu’s Young Woman Composing Music from 1662-1663. The original is housed in The Mauritshuis in The Hague. It is a perfect example of a genre scene from the Dutch Golden Age, the little dog in the lower right also features in many of Metsu’s works.”
Beth works in our London studio alongside our paintings conservator Martha and ceramics conservator Sujin. She welcomes clients from the surrounding area and arranges a variety of projects in the capital, including her favourite restoration of 2022.
“The ceiling of Crockfords Casino in Mayfair has to be one of the most memorable restorations of the year for all of us involved. We revived an 18th century Robert Adam ceiling, including the gilding, painted surfaces and plaster features. It took a whole month, but the end result was wonderful. It has been great to play a part in the conservation of such an important interior.”
Above: our conservator Amelia working on the Crockfords ceiling
“I also loved the revival of a writing desk for a client who originally visited our London studio to ask about train times! It shows that you never know what might come up. The Davenport desk was beautiful and the restoration was very much appreciated by the client, I was glad to be able to help them.”
Dean is one of our furniture experts who also has a specialism in the unique and unusual artworks and sculptures that come through our studio.
Above: the tile artwork before and after restoration, pictured with Dean in the middle
“My favourite project in 2022 was a ceramic tile artwork that I restored piece by piece. This was a long and complex task, but the result looked absolutely perfect. I was glad to bring such beautiful artwork back to life!”
Julia leads our office support team and helps to organise the bigger projects that we work on, including liaising with major insurance companies to ensure artworks are saved following disasters.
“My restoration of the year is the paintings we did for St. Michael’s Abbey in Farnborough. These 12ft paintings were wonderful copies of a famous Rubens altarpiece, it was amazing to see our conservators clean away decades of the abbey’s candle and incense smoke from the surface. A great aspect of restoring these paintings was having a visit from the monks, who even got to practise cleaning the painting themselves! This project was part of a wider restoration of St Michael’s Abbey and we were honoured to be a part of it.”
Get in touch
What has been your favourite restoration of 2022? Get in touch with our team to let us know, or enquire about our conservation services for your artwork, ceramics, furniture or specialist items.
To make contact please email us via [email protected] or call 0207 112 7576