Charles Prendergast Inspired Gilded Keepsake Box

A fine gilded box inspired by early 20th century frame maker Charles Prendergast

A nearby corporate client recently called with a challenge that allowed our imaginations to jump the tracks. A beloved, longtime colleague was retiring, and they asked us to create a keepsake box that would contain handwritten memories and wishes from those she had worked with for many years.

Naturally, we applied techniques used when decorating frames. The design for the keepsake box was inspired by Charles Prendergast, who created highly-prized, original frames at the Carrig-Rohane frame shop that he co-founded in Boston in the early 20th century. Prendergast was a pioneer of the Arts and Crafts Movement that placed an emphasis on designs highlighting the human touch.

The keepsake box was water-gilded with 12K white gold after layers of red clay were applied underneath. We used a sharp stylus to scratch the design in the gold and through the clay. This process is called granito and is completed by rubbing gently through the gold so the red clay peeks through, especially along the scratch lines. Blue pigment was used to highlight the floral design.

We are grateful to those who entrusted us with this important job — what a great gift that could be used for so many occasions including weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations.