Tag: retouching antique frames

Retouching old and antique frames

Sometimes you come across a wonderful artwork with a damaged frame. Old prints and plates usually suffer from effects that are caused by time: foxing, yellowing, browning or tearing.


To me, these marks of aging are perfectly fine and acceptable, to some degree that is. I don’t like whiter than snow antique prints that have been whitened with aggressive bleaching agents. The print will look like it was printed yesterday and in most cases probably even looks whiter than it ever has! Some art dealers might resolve to these harsh methods, but the prints suffer severely and the chlorides and other chemicals will damage the fibers of the old paper. Most antique lovers would agree with me that some wear and tear actually adds to the charm and beauty of an antique item.

A frame however, is a different story. After some time in the antique prints business, I have noticed that damaged frames dramatically devalue a piece of art. Frames are intended to serve as a window that you look through, they separate the artwork from the rest of the environment, so your eyes can focus on the work of art. Next to that, they also offer protection to the art piece, especially when glass is used. So when the frame is damaged, sharp visual lines are broken, and all these complimenting effects mentioned above, are compromised. In this article I describe the work on a standard, antique frame. I also sometimes use different techniques when ornaments are damaged. (working with hand made molds) But that will be featured in another article.

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