Due to its availability, sustainability and its close grain, Tulip wood (American Poplar) was chosen for the frame. The sections were drawn up then outsourced to a local wood machinist workshop. The large outer ogee and back edge profile were machined in two sections and joined using a glued groove and feather joint. The inner profile section, which consists of a flat slip, raised ridge and hollow, makes up the full width of the frame.
Once the frame was assembled, the inner section was given 15 coats of gesso (a mixture of rabbit skin glue size and calcium carbonate) and the outer ogee area received over 20 applications.
The crosshatching design was then scratched into the surface using the Perspex guide and a traditional gesso tool, moving the guide along the timber and scoring the damp gesso lightly and frequently. Over 7000 scores were etched into the surface to create this desired background effect.
The sections were joined together and a composition, made using a recipe from the 1780s combining rosin, animal glue, linseed oil, water and gesso, was applied. Negative Labsil silicone moulds were taken from the Maris frame to create the ornament and the positive moulds were then trimmed and adhered to the frame using the traditional method of wetting the backs with hot water which reactivates the glue layers.
Once all the ornamentation was applied and had hardened, we used gesso filler to fill in any gaps left during application then sandpapered the frame to smooth off excess filler in preparation for the bole stage.