Gilding & Decorative Surfaces

Hare and Humphreys are the largest specialist decorating and gilding company in the UK and, as a result, we are regularly involved in large and small gilding and restoration projects, as well as continuing to create new painted decoration in the tradition of that which we are conserving.

The primary focus of our conservation work is to conserve painted decoration and gilding in historic interiors. This can take the form of a stencilled scheme painted directly onto plaster, hand-painted decoration on timber panelling, a decorated church organ, or an oil painting on canvas which has been installed (or marouflaged) onto a ceiling.

Our conservation team is led by an accredited conservator (ACR) and will begin with research and trials to evaluate the treatment. We will usually work with the client in a stage-by-stage approach to ensure that feedback can be given. Many of our team are also trained artists which ensures that both technical and aesthetic results are matched.

Decorative surfaces conservation

This includes the conservation and cleaning of painted decoration, stencilling and wall paintings in historic buildings and churches.

Church interiors are often highly decorated, but in need of conservation and/or cleaning. Over 30 years we have developed our own expertise in this field, using both dry and aqueous methods of cleaning. Each surface is individually tested and a treatment developed to deal with the specific problem that is evident.

Gilding Conservation

One of our specialities is to advise on existing gilded schemes to determine where they can be cleaned, conserved and revived. Analysing the condition of an existing scheme is important in our conservation approach. We will study it by visual or chemical analysis, to find out the type and tone of the gilding and, where possible, we will use specialist techniques for toning in and repairing with new gold leaf.


  • Conservation at St Nicholas Church, Peper Harrow
  • Cleaning of C16th carved decoration
  • Revelation of hand painted decoration, Hatfield House
  • Retouching at Hackney Empire
  • Nymph
  • Gilding at Hatfield House
  • Consolidation trials to a C19th Church Scheme
  • Grimsthorpe Castle
  • Cleaning trials at Stowe
  • Conservation of gilding and cutting in decorations, private residence, London
  • Consolidation trials in progress
  • Conservation of secular wall painting, Amersham