Every year we reflect on the amazing projects our company has had the privilege to undertake. Our studio has been home to hundreds of items in 2023, from renaissance paintings to 21st century street art. We asked our conservators and office team for their favourite restorations of the year, their answers show just how diverse their work can be.
“My favourite projects of 2023 include two famous names, Thomas Chippendale and Guy Taplin. The bird sculpture by Taplin was typical of his style and was a joy to bring back to life.
The grand rococo mirror I worked on was after a design by Chippendale, it was an intricate and beautiful piece of British design history. I also restored a rare wax plaque, this was an interesting challenge – both myself and the client were very pleased with the result.”
“I work with a lot of our insurance clients, often in the aftermath of a disaster. This year we have cared for hundreds of items following a devastating house fire. This was a difficult time for the family, who had seen important items perish. I was pleased to inform them that even the most disturbed artworks were able to be saved.
Our conservators had a particularly miraculous result with a nautical painting, it had been damaged as the family tried to extinguish the flames with swimming pool water – leaving nothing but a white canvas. This looked like irreversible damage, but the original painting was actually intact under the surface. After several weeks of sensitive conservation treatments, the painting came back to life. Sharing the result with the family was an emotive moment for all involved.”
“My most memorable and favourite project this year was an ornate mirror. It was such a challenge when it came to us. It was in so many different pieces and I didn’t know where to begin, but it was such a satisfying project. Being the person who collected it from the client, I knew how much it meant to her. I wanted her to be happy receiving it back, so I took extra time and extreme care with it. When it was complete, feedback from the client was amazing. I could see that she was as happy with the result as I was.”
“Mary Magdalene With An Ointment Jar has to be my favourite project of 2023. She was a challenging 16th century oil on panel and I made a lot of interesting discoveries whilst treating her. The result was a joy to both myself and her owner, uncovering many fine details. Researching and writing about this project was also endlessly fascinating.”
“This year I had the opportunity to carve new ‘claw and ball’ feet for an antique chair. This was an unusual, historic craft that I very much enjoyed!”
“I work with a lot of our clients to achieve their aims in restoration. One of my favourite projects of 2023 was the revival of a Davenport writing desk. We created custom tooling for the owner, including their own crest to be embossed in gold. I was pleased to see the bespoke result, it suited the history of the desk and allowed it to become a treasured heirloom.
I also loved the restoration of two large Wedgwood vases we had sent over from New York. I am looking forward to seeing even more exciting items throughout 2024.”
“I restored a lot of beautiful gilt frames this year and I look forward to many more in 2024!”
“My favourite projects include a 17th century portrait of Louise Francoise de la Baume LeBlanc, Duchess of La Valliere by Justus van Egmont. The duchess was Louis XIV of France’s first mistress and the artist had connections to Rubens and Van Dyck, so it was a historically significant piece. The portrait had been hidden behind a discoloured surface for hundreds of years, the result was a true ‘glow up’ as she returned to her former glory.
By contrast, I also enjoyed seeing the restoration of a James Bond poster, Diamonds are Forever (1971). A corner of the poster was missing and our paper conservator sourced a new print to repair it. Finally, I really enjoyed seeing the result of an etching by Camille Corot, acidic damage was beautifully removed and a large tear was resolved seamlessly.”
How can we help?
If you have any questions about art restoration, please do not hesitate to get in touch. As part of our service we offer a nationwide collection and delivery service. E-mail us via [email protected] or call 0207 112 7576 for more information.