Monday, 8 March 2010

Finishing the Northleach Town Sign restoration March 2010

Well, it took until February before I had the time to return to finishing the painting of the sign, but as you can see it's a slow and painstaking business, especially all the lettering. Every detail has to have two coats of paint, and that's both sides of the sign, so it's plodding on day after day, turning over each night. 
 Here I am blocking in the colours - it's all about the edges, and I'm painfully aware that I'm not a professional signwriter, but I am using a flat 1/2" brush for a lot of the work, and it seems to produce the best results.

Time for a tea break but now it's coming on!
Nearly finished all the painting, but now it's time to start gilding.


The top nameboard with 'Northleach' across both sides, and the words 1277 AD at the bottom of the sign need to be gilded in order to stand out from what is otherwise a very busy and colourful design. 

Also at this stage I decided that unlike the first time I painted the sign, this time I would gild the cross keys and the crown on the mace. 

The first time I used silver leaf, but it tarnished within 6 months, so now I'm going to use 22 carat gold leaf which should stay bright for many years.

Fortunately Gill has much experience with gilding, so she helped me on this one!I think the 22 carat gold leaf really shines out against the dark green and gives a lovely contrast to the rest of the sign.

It's very fiddly applying the leaf, for which we used a 12 hour oil size, or glue, and it has to be handled with a badger hair brush, so no sneezing while working! 

And here's the first photograph of the sign fully re-instated today (Sunday 7th March). The photo isn't great, as it's a bit shady, but the gold shines out nicely and the greens and blues look nice and rich against the background environment.

Fortunately today was nice and sunny (if cold), but  I needed a lot of assistance , and as you can see my son Henry along with Chris and Sue Hancock helped me lift the sign back into place.  (Gill took the photos!) 

It's very heavy, and when you're up a ladder it seems to get even heavier. We managed it without mishap, so hopefully, with an annual clean it should be another 10- 15 years before it needs serious attention again!