Harvard Art specializes in the conservation of gilded and painted surfaces, and has extensive experience with period picture frames. Treatments include structural repair, stabilization of surfaces, replacement of missing pieces, gesso fills, ingilding with an appropriate karat gold leaf, toning to match existing finishes, and inpainting. All work conforms to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Projects begin with an assessment. Often there are different levels of restoration and conservation to be considered by the client. Harvard Art performs a careful examination of the condition of each object or surface and then presents the appropriate treatment options to the client in the form of a treatment proposal, which includes estimated costs. The choice of treatment depends on many factors, including the condition of the artifact, its future use, and the client’s budget. Upon completion, a Treatment Report is provided which includes before, during, and after photographs of the object and a written report describing the steps undertaken and the materials used.

Conservation services are provided at the firm’s studio in Harvard, Massachusetts, where there is ample room for large projects, or at client sites.

On-site Work

Do you have a collection of paintings or an exhibition where the frames are in need of attention? Harvard Art can work on-site to make your collection show to it’s best advantage. Typical treatments include cleaning, surface stabilization and inpainting of distracting areas of loss. A day spent with this triage approach can produce significant results. More extensive treatment is best done in the studio where good light allows for the proper attention to detail. We are happy to discuss your needs with you and come up with a suitable plan.


Period frames are increasing in value, and a painting is more valuable in its original frame than in a new frame, so it is important to maintain your collection. To help you manage this process, Harvard Art provides expert surveys of frame collections.

A survey from Harvard Art includes a condition report and treatment recommendation for each frame, along with relevant observations such as a frame’s period-appropriateness for a given painting. Our surveys also include priority rankings for treatment, based on which frames are most valuable and which are in most need of repair. Taken together, the reports, recommendations, and rankings in our frame surveys provide the knowledge you need to budget and plan for future conservation treatments.