Antique Dutch Black Finish

The Dutch black finish is inspired by the austere black frames the Dutch preferred to more ostentatious gold leaf frames found elsewhere in Europe in the Renaissance.  The key to this finish is the use of casein paint, an ancient recipe mixing natural pigment with clays and a milk enzyme binder.  It results in a fine finish that can be sanded smooth unlike latex or acrylic paint.  The Dutch finish is a black layer painted by hand over a base coat of an earth color like Venetian red or terra cotta.  Along with slightly distressing the raw wood, the black coat is gently worn by sanding until the ridges of the profile reveal a subtle red peeking through in some places and the exposed wood in others.  After the paint is sealed with layers of shellac, we add another 100 years with a glaze of a thinned asphaltum to add extra depth and a warm glow, then a light dry pouncing with an umber and white wash of casein followed by straight rottenstone.  This is rubbed into the layers of wax, polishing the surface to a subtle shine.  This laborious but exquisite antique black finish should be seen to be appreciated.

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