English furniture mounts i.e. handles; escutcheons, gallery rails etc. produced in the 18th century, even on the highest quality pieces, are often not gilded but lacquered. The brass firstly being prepared by chemically cleaning with acids then burnished and lacquered. This process is known in France as "mis encouleur d'or."
We specialise in the cleaning of all types of furniture mounts.Cleaning in sympathy with the original surface, removing 'dirt' layer by layer;leaving intact the original patina and if required original lacquer. Cleaning techniques used by some restorers do not have sufficient subtlety to achieve this.
We use both traditional shellac based lacquers and modern conservation lacquers. The shellac lacquers are applied in the traditional way with buds and brushes. Applying lacquer by spraying invariably will lead to the mount looking flat and lacking depth. Mounts found on large pieces of furniture i.e. commodes were often made on different days in the foundry. A small variation in the mix of metals contained in the pour can cause a wide variation of colour in the mount, along a yellow to red spectrum. This can be adjusted now, as it was then, through skilful colour toning.