Lillias Guyon wrote to us last November proposing her services as a restorer of gilding. There is not too much gilding here, except on the picture frames. Most of our paintings have been moved about, on and off display, sometimes going to exhibitions (from where they usually return in better condition), re-hung, sent away for cleaning etc, and as a result, many frames have been chipped and damaged.
I used to think the odd chip did not matter. However, as the number expanded, the overall effect was to make the collection look scruffy. There was a time when we wanted people to think we had only old paintings from the family collection, and so an element of what the auction houses call “Country House Condition” was fine. But now our visitors pay more and like to see the place looking well cared for. So Lillias’s services come at a good time.
Like most people, I receive a lot of unsolicited offers through the post. I called Lillias because she wrote by hand (legibly), she lived not too far away and, as others often say they do, she said she often passed through Ledbury. She sent a good, not too glossy brochure, and when we met, she seemed happy to start work without producing a condition report as it was obvious to both of us, on inspection, what the condition of the paintings was. I just hope the condition of the frames does not then make the paintings themselves look scruffy.
JH-B April 2011