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January 30, 2018

Using a Water-Gilded Frame for an Early American Embroidery

One of our client’s here at SFC Gallery is an antique dealer, which means we always get something exciting to frame when they stop in! This project was an early American embroidery with watercolor accents of a young girl. Dated 1819, this piece has remarkably survived with no protection from the back. For this client and his business, it was a “very rare item.”

The embroidery/ watercolor was “stretched” in the back with the original wood pieces, which were falling apart and not keeping their shape to keep the art reasonably taut and flat. This client was also needed the framing to show the back of the artwork, since his hope was to resell the item. In the antique art business, the value and authenticity of the artwork is in the back! The frame they already had it in was clearly past it’s prime and had a sad-looking mat and NO glass! I couldn’t believe that the piece has stayed in such good shape with no glass as bugs and mold would have loved to destroy this unique artwork.

Challenge accepted! I definitely wanted to upgrade the mats and frames, and especially add glass to this piece. We picked out some neutral tones for the matting, the bottom being a 100% cotton Rag mat from Crescent® and the topmost mat a shiny fabric-covered silk mat to catch the sheen from the embroidery. The frame was a little harder, as we wanted to keep the feel of the age of the piece, but not overwhelm it. The client’s wife picked out a frame from our water-gilded line, a petite, intricately ornamented, museum quality Senelar from Larson Juhl® moulding is hand water gilded by master craftsmen in France.







We picked out a sample from the line that was the right size for the artwork, and suddenly the piece came together instantly! That was our frame. We decided this piece was deserving of Museum Glass® for added protection and to give the illusion that it didn’t have glass.

Here’s the end result…..

I’d say it turned out spectacular! Plus, take a look at the back! We cleaned up the back to make it look finished and professional and still allow the critical information to show on the back without exposing it to damage. A plastic “dust cover” was a first for us!


Have a piece that needs that extra special frame? Stop in to our showroom in the Uptown Arts District of Michigan City or call us at (219) 877-4420 to get started. We look forward to working with you!

“Always a wonderful and professional experience. Highly Recommend! 5 stars!”

– SFC Client, Framed Early American Embroidery/ Watercolor (2017)

Written by your friendly neighborhood framer, Kristina