James 1st Charter Frame Repair
I was called in to help by Carmarthen Town Council when they ordered some restoration work for the frame housing the original James 1st vellum Charter. There was damage to the bottom edge of the ornate gilt frame and the charter inside the frame had come loose. The cord supporting the wax seal at the bottom of the charter was also starting to fray and fail.
Working closely with the Conservation Officer at Carmarthen County Museum, we removed the charter from the frame. The Charter was stored at the Museum whilst I did the restoration work on the frame back at my workshop.
The first step of restoration was to make silicone moulds of relevant parts of the decoration that were still intact on the frame edge. I then cast new pieces of decoration in Plaster of Paris to replace damaged and missing areas. The repair work was finished off by gilding with 23 carat gold leaf and toning it in to visually match the rest of the frame.
I replaced the original glass in the frame with Conservation Acrylic glazing (99% UV blocking). This was added as a precaution for the future to minimise any fading or light damage to the Charter. Acrylic was used because the frame was large and Acrylic is considerably lighter than glass.
The final part of the work was to re-insert the Charter and attach a clear acrylic support for the wax seal which I had fabricated specifically for this job. Using clear acrylic for the support was a good solution because it was not noticeable underneath the seal and didn’t distract from the Charter in the frame.