Getting Dressed

This naked painting, looking a little ragged around the edges, was brought to us for framing. It is by Anna Marinova, an oil on canvas titled Model With Mirror.

We chose a shallow concave moulding, made from ‘joinery quality’ Scandinavian Redwood pine, to a design specially cut for The Rowley Gallery.

The four sides of the frame are cut from the moulding.

Their length is carefully measured.

Each section is cut on the Morso guillotine to mitre the corners.

The moulding is held securely in a vice and the corners are joined in the traditional way with nails, a method we find to be more versatile than the now more common practice of under-pinning.

With wider mouldings we add metal corner-brackets for good measure and extra strength.

When the frame is joined we check to make sure it fits the painting.

Then the frame is carefully rubbed smooth with sand-paper.

It is painted with a red under-coat to seal the wood and to act as a ground for gilding with metal leaf, an alloy of copper and zinc, also known as Dutch metal or Schlag leaf.

It is painted with an oil-based size adhesive which acts as a mordant to fix metal leaf.

When the size is dry enough to be tacky the metal leaf is applied carefully by hand.

Any excess leaf is rubbed away to give an all over surface cover.

When it is completely dry it can be gently rubbed with wire wool to give a slightly distressed finish, encouraging some of the red to show through.

It is given a very dilute earth-coloured wash to soften the shine a little.

Followed with a rub down of dark beeswax to give an antique finish.

The frame is now ready to be fitted to the canvas.

The back of the frame is taped and the canvas held in place with spring clips.

Frames of reference

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