We had the great fortune to have been shown around Mount Pleasant by Chris Storb, a conservator for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a key player in the recent restoration and conservation of the house. As a master woodworker, Chris has been tasked with bringing the mansion's fine interior details back to life ~ repairing and recarving damaged and missing fragments, and in the case of one parlor frieze, completely recreating a piece. We were engrossed by Chris's description of his method and process. Using antique woodworking tools, he tries to capture the spirit of the 18th-century craftsman. Like any artist, each woodworker has his own "hand" and style of working. This makes restoring a piece very complicated, as any new elements need to be true to the look of the original. When we visited, Chris had just sketched out his design for the parlor frieze onto a board and was preparing to carve it. Below, you see the piece in process, and here you may see it finished!
Interested in learning more about Mount Pleasant and its restoration? Well, late last week I received an email from Chris to say that he had ventured into the world of blogging ~ In Proportion to the Trouble. His voice is a welcome one, and I look forward to following his adventures.
This one I think deserves a hearty huzzah!
P.S. You may also follow Chris's work at Mount Pleasant on flickr!