Frame Restoration

I haven't talked much of frame restoration, but there was a question about courses in frame restoration on the Grumble, and I thought I should post my reply here. It has always been a part of what I do. I don't do puzzles but I remember spending several hard days piecing back together hundreds and hundreds of broken frame ornaments from an early 19th. c. mirror frame. It was both challenging and enjoyable. Most restorations don't involve a lot of replacement ornaments, as the example above, though quite a few involve regilding.

 "The hard part is gilding and there are classes and workshops offered here and there. Smooth-On and their distributor, Reynolds AM, offer both the materials and knowledge on how to use various casting and molding supplies. There are a few books on frames available now, including this which covers methods. "The Encyclopedia of Picture Framing Techniques: A Comprehensive Visual Guide to Traditional and Contemporary Techniques". There have also been reprints of the two classic books on ornament, "The Encyclopedia of Ornament" and "The Grammar of Ornament". Once there is some feel for the language of ornament, it is possible to reconstruct missing ornaments when there are only fragments left. Basic knowledge of woodworking, carving and some modeling skills are all helpful."

The frame above, showing the bole on some replacement ornaments, prior to water gilding. The frame is from the Albert Milch Co., New York, and is a fine example of the "Art of Framing"; beautifully ornamented and water gilt, with extensive burnishing.


This Day

Abraham Lincoln, by Daniel Chester French, Sculptor
Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

Today, November 19th., in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers his brief remarks, The Gettysburg Address, at the dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The "Address" is famous for it's succinct summation of the war.

The battle is controversial as to whether it was the turning point, ( No, Antietam ), or was it the "high-water mark" for the confederacy. ( Yes ). Though the war would bloodily stagger on for almost two more years, it was the last time the confederacy had the men and material to actually win the war, and after Antietam, world opinion seemed unwilling to support slavery, thus losing the political war.

Contrary to Robert E. Lee's "Old War Horse", James Longstreet, I believe Lee had a very good plan, which was why he was willing to take the offensive against a good defensive position. Unfortunately, JEB Stuart, and his troopers, seems to have been "tired" from gallivanting around gathering glory, and were stopped by a ferocious little "Wolverine", George Armstrong Custer, preventing Stuart from getting into the rear of the Union lines. Had he done so, the outcome of the battle may have been far different. There are markers for the "high-water mark", commemorating a Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing, and General Lewis Armisted, who were mortally wounded at the farthest breach of the union lines.

At Gettysburg, Lee and Longstreet seem to have been at "odds", though I think the south has been negligent in it's appreciation for one of Lee's very trusted lieutenants, "Old Pete", "Lee's Old Warhorse", who had his bad days, as do we all. Fairly recently, there has been an Equestrian statue erected at the battle field at Gettysburg; seems it took a while, but better late ...



This morning, chill, damp and foggy.

Today, in 1864, Arch-villain or war hero, William Tecumseh Sherman begins "The March to the Sea', abandoning his supply lines while in enemy territory, and unusual for that era, a winter campaign.

Civil war reading; about the one year, and selected individuals, including Major Robert Anderson, of Fort Sumter fame, and Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, leader of the New York Fire Zouaves. Ellsworth was the first well known death in the Civil War. In Danville, Illinois, I lived once, on the bluff above the North Fork of the Big Vermilion River, and just down stream from Ellsworth Park. His name has graced much since his early death. Danville is the county seat, and was a part of the law circuit that Abraham Lincoln traveled as a prairie lawyer. Danville is where I developed a taste for reading county histories, variable from all the excitement of the best thriller, to the sleep inducing quality of watching paint dry.


The Morning Dog Walk

Sun up and frost on the leaves, and talk of snow later in the day. Later, a post on one of my current projects; counter tops made from ... bowling alleys.


No Comments

Some Jack-o-lanterns, though Halloween has passed. I got distracted whilst doing the previous post, and failed to mention that I've turned off comments for a variety of reasons, with probably the most important being that a lot of what I write is in the form of brief essays, and are not part of a conversation. If you would like a conversation or have questions, please email me; the link is posted.



More monochrome, arcane minutiae

The start of a sketch, a riverine landscape, on my drafting table that I use for sketching and painting. I was working with my Pelikan pen, Richard Binder nib, Noodlers ink, on Strathmore plate Bristol, when the gentleman who sold me the pen, called me on my picture viewer to discuss some frames. ( I'm using my iPhone as a picture viewer ) I work from photos, as I have children, dogs, old houses, cats, leaky studios, and old vehicles all requiring some attention, not to mention the occasional customer. Looking forward to when one of the kids gets an iPad, so I can borrow it.

The sketch is where I rough out the general composition, the sweep and flow. This will, if I make a painting from it, will be planar, horizontally, of a plain, undramatic landscape. I seem to enjoy a certain undramatic scene.

Photos are a start; I'm not trying to duplicate the photo, and I often combine elements, as I'm trying for a feeling of place and time, and the emotive qualities of a plain and simple landscape ...  the above may be a touch too dramatic. It's not that I can't be dramatic ... just my best stuff seems of the ordinary.