I’ve been a professional picture framer for over 15 years and in that time I’ve ‘de-framed’ many artworks before reframing them, and had a number of interesting challenges, but none more difficult than the de-framing of Neville Clouten’s work!
Usually, it’s not difficult too take an old frame off a painting on board. It’s just a matter of carefully prising the nails from the back of the frame, and then the frame itself easily lifts off. Sometimes old nails can be quite long and some-what rusted (as these ones were) but as long as they have not been nailed too far into the board and the nails remain in one piece, it’s just a matter of time and they will come out without damage to the board.
Perhaps the board was a little loose in the frame (Rick Lapastrier’s frame had come off completely) and some-one at the school thought they could rectify the problem. Their solution was to use some form of compound glue, and some heavy tape, to glue the edge of the painting to the frame.
It was a millimetre by millimetre job to carefully cut through the tape and the glue in the small space between the edge of the board and the frame, and in some places the nails had been glued to the back of the board as well, so that meant very carefully cutting the glue around the nail before it could be taken out. The paintings are about 2 metres by 1.5 metres, so it took a little while!!
Finally the frame was removed and Bobbie and her friend David Winter joined me at the gallery in cleaning Neville’s painting.
As you can see, Neville’s artwork is now clean and ready for varnishing and then reframing.