Hoppner Portrait Frame


Hoppner as delivered

This portrait frame has a simple wide scoop molding, and an attached ID plate "John Hoppner, R.A.". Probably English, it has splined construction. Considering the artist dates of 1758-1810, it is likely that this frame was made outside the artist's lifespan.



Corner with overpaint



The frame appears to have been either made of gilded length molding (rather than as a close-corner frame), or possibly made by cutting down another frame. At the very least, the finish has been significantly re-worked over the years. It has gold overpaint on the entire surface. There are some missing areas of gesso, particularly at edges and on sides, as well as earlier substrate infill repairs of unknown material. A visible grain-wise crack runs along the middle of bottom rail.
Removal of the identification plate on bottom rail provided evidence that it was added after/during the earlier refurbishing of this frame.


Treatment plan is to first, remove overpaint.

Paint stripped



With most overpaint removed, it is apparent that there was little original gilding left, and that it was originally oil gilt, rather than water gilt. Unobrustive losses (those without a jarring undercoat exposed) on the ropes, etc. will not be treated at this time.




Goal is to maintain an appearance of age. Recommendation is that surfaces be infilled, and that frame is water gilded on sight and outer edges, oil gilded in cove and sides, then distressed and toned.


After filling chips and the crack with gesso, the surfae was smoothed and clay applied in the same reddish-brown color as original. The outer edge and sight edge were water gilded with 23K gold.


Water gilded edges

After gilding was rubbed and distressed, shellac was applied as an isolation for applying gold size and then matte gilding the cove.


Cove Leafing


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Last Update: 9/16/12