Mallet, 19 – 20th century
Williams College Museum of Art, Prendergast Archive and Study Center, Gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast, A.1.2.GGG
Charles Prendergast utilized carving tools to construct his signature hand-carved frames, as well as his later panel paintings. In his paintings, Charles first worked out compositions in sketches in crayon, charcoal, or watercolor which were then transferred or traced onto a wooden panel that was coated in gesso. He would then incise the traced design using over forty carving tools, much like those on display here, to ensure variation in the size and appearance of the incisions. The surface was smoothed over with sandpaper or pumice stone and tempera paint was applied. Parts of the composition that were to be gilded required a special preparatory coat of plaster, upon which the gold leaf was applied in small sections. The artist then gently lifted the leaf with a knife and guided it onto the panel, affixing it with a brush.