Art Restoration budgeting: Can we fix it?

When the client came in with this piece, we immediately knew a few concerns we could immediately address. Our questions lied in the extent of the work that could be done vs the time and money the client would like to put in. This is often a concern we face, when working with items that are decorative and unique to a space. Some say “is it worth it?”, and unfortunately, that is not a question we can answer for you. However, we will take the time to go through your options, and let you know if there is anything you can do to preserve your favorite items.


This gilded mirror had fallen off a wall, cracking the top crest and breaking off one of the pivotal, symmetrical bird ornaments from the corner. Also, now that the piece was in our studio, the client started to notice a few chips, worn gilding and lesser missing areas throughout the entire framing. Once the piece is off of the wall, it was almost alarming to the client the extent of damage that had just happened over time, with general cleaning, aging and small incidents.

With a budget in mind, we addressed some main concerns, while keeping the look cohesive and conservative. Rather than regilding the entire frame to address the areas of worn gilding, we touched in to various areas with custom mixed MICA powder, blending it in to the original surface. We fabricated a bird head from wood, and then later painted to in keep with the original  color and finish.


Other areas of missing material were consolidated, meaning that we stabilized them to the frame, preventing additional material from flaking from the surface. Afterwards, although we could have additionally fabricated any missing material, however, to work with the clients budget, we additionally touched in to those areas keeping the overall look consistent.

In this particular case, and rightly so, our client loved this mirror, but she also understood that she might be able to get a similar piece for the same cost of the full restoration! However, by working with her and finding solutions, we were able to restore this frame, ensuring that she gets to enjoy it for many more years to come.


*As a side note, I’ve included a completed picture of the frame. It especially important, because you can see the stark difference in color between the progress pictures and the final picture. It is important to keep lighting in mind when completing a restoration, as the final result may look completely different once it gets out of the studio!*


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