New workshop and bench spaces available
New Workshop set up for Gilded bronze: conservation, restoration and making of gilded bronzes (ormolu) (October 2009)
Yannick Chastang is pleased to announce the setting up of a new metal conservation / bronze chasing workshop. This is in response to increased demand for careful conservation of gilded bronze as well as the making of quality new gilded bronze (also called ormolu). Yannick Chastang can now provide a top quality service for gilded bronze, from making of the moulds and supervision of the casting to in-house chasing and very soon in house gilding (electroplating and firegilding). The employment of French-trained specialised metal workers means that
We are currently finishing the copy of the roll top desk of King Louis XV started by Francois Linke before the Second World War and, to date, never finished. The work includes moulding, casting, chasing, mounting and finishing of all of the bronze mount decorations of this desk (as well as making the double faced clock and the porcelain plaques). This is a mammoth and very complex task but a great privilege.
Some of the new bronzes made for the copy of the roll top desk of King Louis XV, originally made by Oeben and Riesener. These photos show the casts before chasing and finishing
Preparatory work for this project involved the analysis of brass alloys as well as the study of historical literature which enabled us to re-discover the true eighteenth century alloys in antique bronze. Our bronze mounts are now cast in a local foundry where they use an alloy recipe very similar to that used during the eighteenth century. The reason behind our research and behind the desire to use the same alloy is not dictated by traditionalism but simply because the eighteenth century alloy has many advantages over modern brass. Most importantly, the metal is softer than modern brass making it easier to work and thereby reducing the time spent chasing by almost 30%. Burnishing of the finished gold is also made easier and gives better results. We primarily use electroplating to gild mounts, mainly for environmental and cost issues, but we are working very hard to recreate the look, thickness and colour of the more traditional ormolu which was generally fire gilded (also called mercury gilding). Where budget is not an issue, fire gilding can still be done in
Smaller projects include the making of new escutcheons and handles for a pair of Boulle desks that have recently been conserved for Chatsworth as well as keys and elements for other pieces of Linke furniture.
Whether furniture mounts, candelabras, chandeliers or fire dogs, we believe we now have the means to make anything from modern originals to copies, be they from an existing model or based on a photo. Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice on any project you may have.
Chasing of a new escutcheon to replace one missing from a pair of Boulle marquetry desks owned by Chatsworth
Photo showing only a small selection of the 1,300 punches (or ciselets in French) we use to chase the bronze mounts. Many of these punches are antique tools which have been reconditioned for use in our workshop. Antique tools possess the advantage of endowing the bronze with a much smoother and more authentic chasing. As every style or every bronze mount requires special tools, if we don’t have the appropriate tool, new ones are made for on a project by project basis.
Collector's cabinet with Egret marquetry