After the gilding was complete, we gave the frame a thin coat of rabbit-skin glue size which acts as a barrier between the gold and the stage known as the ‘aging process’. For this finish, areas of gilding were removed from sections of the frame that otherwise would have been abraded through handling or cleaning. Pigments such as Vandyke brown, Terre Verte, burnt and brown ochre were mixed in two solutions, one a rabbit-skin solution and the other a keytone varnish.
We applied the rabbit-skin toning to the areas that had been oil gilded and as no solvents were used this prevented any further loss to the gold. We applied the keytone solution over the water gilded areas and this time the gold was protected through the absence of water.
We sealed the rebate of the frame using brown gum paper then applied blue velvet ribbon. Cork spacers covered in brown tape were then fitted to ensure a good fit for the painting. Using mirror plates, the work was secured in place and protected by an oil-tempered hardboard back secured to the frame.
After three and a half months of work, Diaz’s Sous Bois went back to its rightful place on the walls of the Gallery where it can be viewed today.