A conservator of frames and objects since 1979, Brad Sourdiffe is widely recognized for his meticulous and historically accurate work for both individual and public collections. Since moving back to Vermont in 1982, Brad has restored historic frames for many prestigious institutions which include: the Bennington Museum, the Fleming Museum, the University of Vermont, the Vermont Statehouse, and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College. Of the dozens of frames he has worked on for the Vermont Statehouse, two of the most notable are the frames for the painting of George Washington hanging above the speaker’s rostrum, and the 16′ x 23′ painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Numerous pieces restored in Charleston , S.C. include those for City Hall, The Gibbes Museum of Art, and the Historic Charleston Foundation.
When conserving frames or objects care is taken to retain as much of the original structure and finish as possible, with any restored areas carefully finished to match the existing patina. Many years of experience have made it possible to have “refinished” areas be indistinguishable from the surrounding original finish. Materials used are consistent with the original materials.
Water gilding is the traditional gilding of wood, the basic process hasn’t changed for centuries. A thin layer of gesso, a mixture of whiting and rabbit skin glue is applied to the wood. Bole is applied, a mixture of clay and rabbit skin glue, the color of which will affect the color of the finished gilding. The bole is wet with gilder’s liquor, a combination of alcohol and water which brings the glue up to the surface of the bole. Metal leaf (most commonly gold or silver leaf) is applied using a gilder’s tip, a brush made of ox or squirrel hairs, to pick up the leaf. When dry, the leaf is burnished with an agate burnisher to achieve a mirror like finish. If a matte finish is desired the leaf is left un-burnished.
In addition to our frame and object restoration service, the gallery also works with two notable conservators of oil paintings and works on paper. Please feel free to come in to get an estimate for your piece from our experienced, reputable conservators.