Professional Associate
Member of AIC
Fine Arts Conservator
Alexandra vonHawk
  • Cultural Institute Clients
  • Daytona Museum of Arts and Science
  • Austin Carriage Museum
  • The Appleton Museum of Art
  • Morse Museum of American Art
  • Samuel Harn Museum of Art
  • Maitland Museum of Fine Art
  • The Lightner Museum
  • Albany Institute of Art
  • Stetson University
  • Cummer Museum
  • The Flagler Museum
  • Ponce DeLeon Light House Museum
  • Museum of Seminole County History
  • Orlando Museum of Art
  • Cornell Fine Arts Museum
  • Rollins College Library
  • Milwaukee Museum of Fine Art
Professional Associate Member of AIC

Paris Salon Restoration

Just for a moment, come with me to a wondrous time – Paris in the year 1750. Ladies and gentlemen are being carried through the streets in gilded sedan chairs, topped with Ostrich plumes, being carried by two elaborately dressed male servants.

They hold jeweled "Vinegar Boxes" to their noses to keep them from fainting from the stench in the streets. Armed guards proceeded and followed the chair as it made its way through the perilous avenues. Paris was filthy with disease and squalor, but inside, behind the closed doors of its residences, the brilliance of Paris society would never be surpassed. Far away exotic lands were being discovered and their treasures were laid at the Parisians' feet. The Orient was especially intriguing and all social gatherings centered on the newest imports of textiles, porcelains and spices.

The Rage was tea, a precious commodity, and it was treated as powdered gold. Intimate parties were held where invited guests went to a "Tea Parlor" for an evening of tea tasting. Ladies and gentlemen in their finest brocades and silks sat on goose down pillows under silk tented ceilings. Their tiny pointed bowed and jeweled shoes rested on exotic carpets. They covered themselves in rubies, emeralds and diamonds from Africa. Special rooms were constructed for these "Tea Parties" with gilded furniture, silk walls and heavy Damask curtains. The most exclusive apartments were covered wall to wall with painted scenes - a European's vision of oriental pastoral life. Guests would be transported from Paris filth to the beautiful and fragrant hills of the lush oriental country side. Due to the quantity and the size and the expense to produce an entire room, few were constructed and only a precious few survive to this day.

It was my great pleasure to be awarded the project of restoring an entire room of one of the finest examples of its kind. Because I work alone on all my projects, I was given two years to complete all the panels. These "Tableaux Anciens" are monochromes in deep blues or greens with cream backgrounds looking very much like the imported porcelains the Parisians so loved. The borders are entwined with botanicals, flowers and vines. Each panel is different with narrow border panels of only botanicals between them. You will soon see Chinese ladies and gentlemen under coconut trees, ice skating or shooting game in a German forest. There are magical oriental fairies, gentlemen protecting their ladies from the sun with huge elaborate parasols or pushing them on high swings. There are fur-covered sleighs in ice and snow and ladies with baskets of fruit and flowers. The restored room in photos 7 and 8 above presents this enchanting world to the viewer for both historical study and enjoyment.