Minnesota State Capitol Frames
We were asked to create 2 large frames for 2 large historical paintings that would be re-located from one area of the State Capitol Building to another location. They had never been in actual frames; they were surrounded by architectural detailing on a large wall. This is the drawing of the proposed frame profile for the paintings, "Father Hennepin Discovering St. Anthony Falls" by Douglas Volk, and "The Signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux" by Francis Davis Millet.
The frames each have 4 different embossed wood patterns plus a stippled gesso under the gold metal finish. This shows the wood patterns being attached to the base moulding.
4 of the frame rails built and ready to finish! The rails are just over 6' and just over 10'. Too large to build a frame of this size in our shop, they will be assembled on location.
The wood patterns have been masked off with blue tape, and the gesso is being stippled onto the rest of the frame. This will add texture to the finish and give the final patina something to grab, giving it more visual interest.
Here you can see the texture of the stippled gesso and the raw wood patterns. We're ready to gild with gold metal leaf.
We are gilding over the gold spray paint base with gold metal leaf. Each sheet of leaf is about 6" x 6", and is put on one sheet at a time.
A stiff brush is used to apply a dark wax toner. This will give the frame an aged patina. We don't want it to look like a brand new frame.
Before we can leaf the frames, we need to apply a thin layer of "size" or glue, to which the leaf will adhere. It has a milky appearance until it is dry enough to lay the leaf on it. Before we applied the size, we put on a base coat of gold spray paint, over which we will lay gold metal leaf.
Magically, the parts arrived at the Capitol and are being assembled into 2 frames! We used glue and biscuits and some special hardware called zip bolts to draw the corners together.
A large wood cleat is attached to the wall to hang each frame. An interlocking piece has been attached to each frame as well. This offers the kind of support necessary for a piece of this size and weight. Making sure it is level is also important.
How many men does it take to hang a large painting? 5. Using a hydraulic lift, the framed painting is slowly raised into position. Once the frame is just above the cleat, it is lowered down to interlock with it and the lift is removed.
Both framed paintings now hang in the Cass Gilbert Library on the 3rd floor, on the east side of the Capitol.
Father Hennepin Discovering St. Anthony Falls by Douglas Volk. This can be seen in the Cass Gilbert Library at the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul. The frame designed and built by Master Framers Inc. in 2017.
The Signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux by Francis Davis Millet. This can be seen in the Cass Gilbert Library on the 3rd floor of the State Capitol building in St. Paul, MN. The frame was designed and built by Master Framers Inc in 2017.
The moulding has been milled and this shows the 3 sections being glued up with a lot of clamps.