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FRAME Conservation & gilding

Welcome! My art conservation studio, located in central New Hampshire, specializes in the conservation treatment of gilded picture frames.

  • Conservation Treatment & Documentation

  • Alteration of existing frames including resizing, and addition of liners or fillets

  • New frame design and construction

  • Gilding

  • Collection Surveys

  • Collections Care 

Services include conservation treatment of gilded and painted surfaces, picture frames as well as furniture and sculpture. Typical frame treatments include structural repair, consolidation of flaking and unstable material, ornament replacement, compensation of loss to the gesso layer, reworking of previous repairs and overpaint removal, surface cleaning, and integration - matching new fills and ornament with the existing surface by in gilding or in painting, and toning. 

After assessing the condition of the object, proposals are made to reflect various levels of treatment. Approved treatments are carefully documented, both in writing and with photography before and after conservation. This documentation is included with the final treatment report.

I am a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). All work is done in compliance with the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. I currently serve on the board of the New England Conservation Association (NECA).


I am a second generation gilding conservator, I grew up with my mother's gilding studio at home in Harvard MA. This allowed me to develop my skill set at an early age, and I’ve been surrounded by frames ever since.


​I studied Studio Art as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont and subsequently trained with a master carpenter in Hawaii. After further training in private conservation studios throughout Massachusetts, I held positions in frame conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Harvard Art Museums.

In 2017 I moved to central New Hampshire to open my own studio and start a family. I also currently hold the part time position of Assistant Conservator of Frames at Harvard's Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies.


The international contemporary art magazine, Art in America, covered my journey into the field of conservation in their Hand's On interview series.


The Harvard Gazette's article Art's Shining Future is about the reopening of the Harvard Art Museums in 2014 and provides information about the museum itself and the work of my colleagues and me at the Straus Center for Conservation. Scroll down to Framing The Issue, roughly in the middle of the article, to read about how I created a historic replica frame for Paolo Finoglia's 17th c. Baroque painting Joseph and Potiphar's Wife.

In Layers of Gold, Kearsarge Magazine explores the ancient craft of gilding, the field of conservation, and how I ended up with a small business in New Hampshire (scroll to page 61).


Frame for Benjamin West's Devout Men Taking the Body of St. Stephen, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

In 2014, I led a team of three conservators in the conservation treatment of an 18th century English carved and gilded Carlo Maratta frame. Treatment of the large scale 18’ x 20’ frame took place on view to the public, in the MFA’s Conservation in Action gallery. We presented our findings at the American Institute for Conservation’s annual meeting in Montreal in 2016. For further information click here

Guanyin, 12th century Chinese sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Because of my expertise in treating gilded surfaces, in 2015, I was called in to participate in the conservation treatment of a larger than life sized Buddhist sculpture, the flesh of which is gilded. This treatment was a favorite of mine and allowed me to step outside of a typical frame treatment. For further information click here.


Renovation of the Raphael Room, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA

With no gilding specialist on staff, conservators at the ISGM often call on me to consult on frame treatments or come in when they need help with large projects. In 2016, I worked on 10 frames for the ISGM’s Raphael Room, which was undergoing renovation. Click here, and scroll down to see me pictured on the ISGM website working on one of four Venetian mirror frames now on view in the Raphael Room. Next year I will work on the frame for Titian’s Rape of Europa.


The Davis: ReDiscovered, The Davis Art Museum, Wellesley, MA

In 2015, I prepared framesfor The Davis: ReDiscovered, a major reorganization of the museum’s galleries. It is important for frames to look their best in order to enhance the artwork they surround, especially on a freshly painted wall. For some impressions on Instagram click these three links. The last image is the frame for Carlo Dolci’s Penitent Magdalene, the star of an exhibition of works by the Florentine artist, held at the Davis in 2017.

Master of the Fogg Pietà, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1330, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA

In preparation for the re-opening of the Harvard Art Museums in 2014, I undertook the creation of many new frames. The frame for the Lamentation was by far the most complex. The painting, one from the predella of a larger altarpiece had a quatrefoil-shaped sight opening, and needed a frame to match. With the help of a master carpenter, the frame was carved out of a solid piece of wood. I undertook the decoration which included a floral pattern of punchwork and pastiglia, all aged to look as if it was made in the 14th century. For further information click here and here

Blunderwood Portable, Jason Turgeon, Boston, MA

In the summer of 2015, I took part in a project for Burning Man, gilding the lettering on a giant typewriter. In 2018, the Blunderwood 2.0 was created for a private collector with a sculpture park in Mexico. For some impressions click here and look at the slide show above.


Please contact me for help with your next frame project large or small.


jackson.allison [at]

cell 978 500 2576

New London, NH

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