13th August 2021

Friends of Fairfax House Fund Frame Restoration Project

You may have seen our most recent digital ‘Curator Talk’ about ‘Emblems of Love’, which for the last 80 years has been ascribed to William Etty R.A., but was recently discovered to be by the later Victorian artists James Sant R.A. If you missed this you can view it here.

The painting is in really good condition, however its Victorian gilt frame is sadly in a very poor state of repair. Years of damage, dirt and poor environmental conditions meant that in 2013 it had to be separated from the painting and carefully stored away.

The curatorial team were lucky enough to go behind the scenes at the Francis W. Downing Ltd. painting conservation studio to check up on the frame. Given the size and extent of damage to the frame, the restoration is a complex and lengthy process. You can watch our video for an insight into the steps involved from start to finish. As you will see, many of the techniques and materials used have not changed for hundreds of years.

Here are some fantastic work in progress photos, featuring fine art conservator Giuseppe Downing expertly restoring the frame by applying linen strips to secure and stabilise.



Visit https://www.francisdowning.com to find out more about their conservation work.

Thanks again to the brilliant fundraising efforts of the Friends of Fairfax House. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to get this beautiful piece of craftsmanship restored and reunited with the painting and place them on display in the house for our visitors to enjoy.

We will continue to send updates and some juicy ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos once all the work is complete.