Antique Furniture, decorative finishes for AMERICAN QUEEN ANNE PERIOD CHINOISERIE PARCEL GILT AND LACQUERED DESK
 
   

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AMERICAN QUEEN ANNE PERIOD CHINOISERIE PARCEL GILT AND LACQUERED DESK, CA. 1ST QTR. 18TH CENTURY

Scope of work/Nature of work:

One owner sat at this desk for 35 years, and was unaware of the parcel gilt surface beneath the old varnish and centuries of grime

One owner sat at this desk for 35 years, and was unaware of the parcel gilt surface beneath the old varnish and centuries of grime. He was interested in refinishing it, stripping the wood.

The gold beneath the surface was becoming apparent, after removing some of the grime.

The gold beneath the surface was becoming apparent, after removing some of the grime.

After conservation, the parcel gilding in various colors gold and platinum leaf, and original lacquer color were spectacular.

After conservation, the parcel gilding in various colors gold and platinum leaf, and original lacquer color were spectacular.

Desk BEFORE restoration


Desk AFTER restoration

The conservation process to remove the grime and oxidized varnish is long and arduous.

The conservation process to remove the grime and oxidized varnish is long and arduous. It requires great patience and dedication, to remove the old varnish without removing the gilding beneath- just a few molecules thick of gold, only one tenth of a micron thickness.

Drawer details of repairs and conservation needed

 

The bright red lacquer had been overcoated on the sides of the worn kneehole

The kneehole drawers area beneath the desk was in relatively good condition, the most protected part of the desk. The bright red lacquer had been overcoated on the sides of the worn kneehole, and the base, and the drawer edges by a restorer decades before, quickly covering damages. That overcoating discolored a darker maroon/brown color in the following decades. The recent conservation effort required removing all that "touch-up" work to expose the original parcel gilding and copal varnish lacquer beneath.

That overcoating discolored a darker maroon/brown color in the following decades
The recent conservation effort required removing all that touch-up work to expose the original parcel gilding and copal varnish lacquer beneath
DURING restoration
Desk DURING restoration
Desk DURING restoration
Desk AFTER restoration
DURING restoration
Paint detail AFTER

Conservation details of the far left corner of the desk:

 

Shows extensive wear, physical damages, losses to gold and platinum gilt and lacquer finishes throughout

Shows extensive wear, physical damages, losses to gold and platinum gilt and lacquer finishes throughout

Beginning stages of infilling the background red lacquer color, after filling in deep damages in the surface

Beginning stages of infilling the background red lacquer color, after filling in deep damages in the surface

After conservation, the multiple colors of gold leaf and platinum leaf are most apparent.

After conservation, the multiple colors of gold leaf and platinum leaf are most apparent.

AFTER preservation and restoration BEFORE preservation and restoration
AFTER preservation and restoration
Using the proper techniques, the original paint and gilding can be preserved and restored.

Imagine the surprise of the owner, to discover the beauty that laid beneath the grime and old varnish. We have uncovered similar treasures, including fancy 18th Century floral and figurative paintings, covered beneath layers of paint. Using the proper techniques, the original paint and gilding can be preserved and restored.



By Peter Triestman

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