Restoration of an Antique Louis XV Revival Desk

by | Jul 12, 2021 | Conservation, Projects

Years of Use

We had the privilege of restoring an antique Louis XV style desk and extending its legacy.

This heirloom 18th-century style writing desk has sustained years of use, and exposure from sunlight and climate fluctuation.  While windows provide a great view and seem to be an ideal spot to sit and work nearby. The sunlight can fade finishes, upholstery, and degrade wood.



When the table arrived at our studio, the areas on the desk that was closest to the window had faded, and the veneered surface was lifting and unstable. Various areas of the veneer were missing. The decorative ormolu was dirty and dull.



The ormolu was removed to access the veneered surface.  The metal elements were then lightly cleaned and polished on the high points to bring out the contrast and depth of the ornamental detail.

The veneered surface was stabilized, the areas of veneer loss were mapped, and templates were made.  The compromised finish was reduced. Through our collection of contemporary and antique wood veneers, we identified a comparable wood species, and then matched the grain and tone to replace the areas of loss. 

Once the veneer was stabilized and the losses filled, the fills were locally toned and harmonized with the surrounding areas.  Fresh coats of lacquer were applied to saturate the surface and hand buffed between layers to achieve a uniform sheen.  The treated ormolu was then resecured to the desk.


Successful Restoration

The restored desk has now been put back to use as it was designed over two centuries ago and will be appreciated for centuries to come.


Did you know that antique furniture often withstands damage and uses better than contemporary items?  Antiques also add a lot of character and can become a focal point within a room.


Do you have a piece that needs attention?  Contact us today, we can treat items in our studio, but can also make house calls to treat pieces onsite.


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Before Restoration
Before Conservation Antique restoration Chicago Conservation center Provenance Family heirloom preservation Furniture repair Leather top desk Gilt bronze Artmill Group Armand Lee The Repair Shop Chicago Artifact services claim Water damage restoration April Hann Lanford Veneer treatment Ormolu cleaning

The antique desk before restoration.


During treatment Restoration studio Furniture repair Antique conservation Veneer replacement Chicago Artmill Group Armand Lee Artifact services Chicago Schiller park Arlington heights North shore furniture The Repair Shop Chicago

During restoration in raking light. The ormolu was removed to access the veneered surface beneath.


Furniture and picture frame repair Restoration Furniture refinishing Artifact services Claim restoration Antiques Heirloom treatment Sun fading repair Gold coast antiques

Removal of the ormolu and treatment of the veneered surface. Years of exposure to sunlight have faded the surface. Note the darker areas that were protected from sunlight from the decorative ormolu.


French polish furniture English polish Onsite treatment Furniture touchup Ormolu cleaning Drawer repair Structural work Antique refinishing After images Insurance claims Wood restoration

After treatment. The ormolu has been cleaned and the details are now more striking. The tonality of the wood finish has returned, and the veneered surface is stable.


Louis XV desk After treatment Heirloom restoration Furniture repair Completion image Artifact Services Artmill Group Wood restoration

Now that the desk has been restored, it has been returned to the client’s home for use and display.