At 8am this morning my technician colleagues started the careful process of taking The Paston Treasure off the wall and out of its frame. The transport company were due to bring the lorry at 10. They were bringing with them what are known as 'T-Frames' – custom-built supports for both frames and canvases to protect them in transit.
We had decided, instead of putting the de-framed painting into storage while the gilding was going on, to put it back on display, but within one of these temporary T-Frame structures. This way, the picture can still be seen by our visitors and, on the conservation front, it also avoids unnecessary moving of such a large work.
The gallery doorway was too small to bring in the T-Frame we'd had made to hold the picture frame, and only just big enough to get the frame itself through – so we had to take the frame to the lorry, and put it into its protective support inside the vehicle. Thinking ways around logistical issues like this is a regular part of the job, and our technicians and exhibitions coordinators are very experienced!
Once the frame was safely installed in the lorry, the technicians mounted the painting's own temporary frame on the wall, and placed the canvas within it.
I shall be visiting the gilders' soon, and will keep you updated on progress!