About this project

B.R. Howard was contracted by the Adams County Historical Society for conservation to their James J. Wills portrait painting and frame. Upon arrival, the frame was in fragile condition and the painting had an overall layer of dirt and grime.


What we did

The outer frame had areas of lose and missing pieces, cracks, and chipping overall. The inner frame was also in fragile condition with chips, cracks and flaking gesso/gilding along the edge of the oval next to the painting.

After packing and transporting the piece to the BRH studio, the frame and painting were separated from one another. BRH used a low suction vacuum to reduce dust and surface dirt on the front and reverse of the painting. The surface of the painting was then cleaned before in-painting was performed using reversible paints.


The frame was cleaned with swabs to reduce dust and surface dirt. All loose pieces were secured and new pieces were molded and created to replace areas that had been lost. Gilding was required to return the frame to its original appearance using water and oil based gilding methods.

The painting was once again reinstalled to the frame and transported back to the Adams County Historical Society.