Italian Rococco Mirror


This mirror arrived with a long history of repairs, both structural and to the surface. The client wanted it to look more impressive, but since there was a fair amount of original surface, I wanted to make sure any over-gilding was reversible. Unfortunately, there was a great deal of worm damage; in many areas, the gesso was only a shell, with underlying wood completely missing. Consolidant was used on these areas, as well as on back supports.

In addition to the old repairs, there were attempts at repair using epoxy filler materials. These were not successful, since the underlying structural issues were not addressed. Some were removed and redone, while some could not be removed in an effective manner. Since the client is an antique dealer, the goal was to return this to an appealing, saleable condition.

The treatment plan for this mirror is:

  • Stabilize structure
  • Clean surface dirt
  • Remove overpaint
  • Consolidate surface
  • Repair missing areas
  • Regild and tone






A birch plywood backing was created to strengthen the structure, and provide support for handling and hanging. We now had a starting point for the surface repairs. Although it doesn't appear badly in this picture, there, many of the dark areas visible are actually where gesso was gone and the underlying wood exposed and discolored. The gesso surface was also extremely unstable in many areas.


The finished project. Newly gilded areas were toned to provide a consistent overall appearance.



Antiques | Gilding and Restoration | About Us | Home


Last Update: January 14, 2008