By: Nell Boucher, Archivist, Mohonk Mountain House
Most artworks at Mohonk Mountain House were selected by the founders Albert, Eliza, Daniel, and Effie during 1880-1910 when they were furnishing the Mountain House. Many frames are originals and were handmade on-site. For this second part of the Mohonk Artworks Restoration Project, we are focusing on the process of restoring the frame for “Mohonk Carriage Road” by Nelson Augustus Moore.
In April, we will release of a small catalog of Mohonk’s oil paintings called Paintings at Mohonk: Visions of our Surroundings by Sanford Levy—which includes 29 beautifully reproduced images of some of Mohonk’s oil painting collection.
Artists whose paintings are featured in the catalog are Daniel Huntington, Nelson Augustus Moore, Dorthea Litzinger, Morris Hall Pancoast, Joseph Tubby, Bayard Henry Tyler, Kruseman Van Elten, Henry Van Ingen, Frank Waller, Carl Newland Werntz, and John Williamson.
For those who have visited Mohonk Mountain House before, the collection begins in the Winter Lounge, proceeds to the Grove Parlor on the first floor and the main Parlor, then spirals up the Central Staircase.
The frame’s restoration process begins with building up the broken areas, making molds or sculpting replacement pieces by hand, and finishing with gilding. Our initial evaluation after a cleaning and stabilizing:
As this painting was seriously glued into the frame, it had to remain, and was covered. A mold was made of the edge detail. This was used as a “stamp”, to give indication of what will then be hand sculpted into place around the frame.
Here are examples of the restoration process, using a special clay from England that will replace the missing composition. After it is hardened, the new areas are painted in appropriate “bole” color, and gold replaced according to what was originally used. In this case, a gold leaf paint, gilder’s paste, and a touch of composition leaf was used. Then proper patina is applied to give the frame back it’s aged glory, along with a “good shellacking” for added wear.
“Mohonk Carriage Road” back in place, at home in the Winter Lounge! This painting will be included in the forthcoming release of Paintings at Mohonk: Visions of our Surroundings by Sanford Levy and available in our Gift Shop for purchase this April 2018.
Click here to learn more about the history of Mohonk Mountain House!