Zartera specializes in the preservation and restoration of 3-dimensional objects such as frames and objects with gold, silver, and metal leaf applied on the surface. These artifacts include period frames, gilded antiques, and statues.

Frames are more important than many people will initially consider. An original frame is an integral and historical part of a work of art. It isolates the painting visually, separating it from its surroundings with a decorative design that enhances and protects the work.

In our treatments, we endeavour to retain as much of the original finish as possible and to achieve this, we generally stabilize insecure areas first using reversible conservation adhesives to secure the unstable layers. We then meticulously build layer upon layer to prepare the surface for gilding. The delicate piece of gold leaf is then fastidiously applied to the prepared surface and toned to emulate the surrounding areas.

Gilding is the process of applying gold leaf to give frames a shimmering, ornate finish. Gilding can flake if the relative humidity is unstable. It is more likely to be damaged by bad handling, where it can receive scratches and abrasion.

Throughout history, artists and craftsmen have created sculpture by effectively using every material imaginable. Stone has been chiselled, metal hammered or cast, wood carved, and clay moulded. Although some prove more durable and resistant than others, all sculptural materials are susceptible to environmental agents that initiate deterioration, decay, and physical damage. The approach taken by the conservator to slow this deterioration depends on several factors: the intrinsic material making up the object, the environment in which the sculpture has existed or will exist. The original or intended purpose of the sculpture influences its condition and for its survival, and various values (aesthetic, historic, cultural, religious, and monetary) may influence the conservator’s course of action.

Wood is a porous structure, and it responds to changes in the humidity of its surrounding environment, absorbing water on humid days or, conversely, giving up water if the surrounding air is dryer. Dimensional changes to the wood occur when this exchange takes place. As wood takes up water, it will swell. As it loses water, it will shrink, sometimes dramatically. Both actions induce considerable stresses on the artifact, resulting in warping or splitting of the object. When the object is painted, wood will respond to heat and moisture with greater movement, destroying the bond between the wood and the less elastic paint and ground preparation layers lying in its face, resulting in the painted decoration’s flaking away from the surface.

Wood can also be a food source or a nesting place for a variety of insects such as wood-boring beetles and termites. Wood can also be damaged by a variety of fungi and bacteria with similar results.

Appropriate and stable temperature and humidity levels and an environment low in UV, illumination, and pollutants can ensure the slowing of any deterioration.