About Us

Founded in 1966, Plowden & Smith provides high-quality, fuss-free and competitively priced solutions for interior designers who require specialist restoration services and beautiful bespoke picture frames and display mounts for works of art, furniture and collectable objects. Its picture frames and mounts and preventive conservation consultancy services allow interior designers to integrate best practice collections care seamlessly into their interiors, giving them the edge when working with keen art collectors, and also the reassurance that comes with working with world-leading conservation experts, trusted by some of the world’s greatest museums. 

Plowden & Smith's client base includes many leading interior designers, for example Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler; Veere Grenney Associates; and Alidad Ltd., as well as international auction houses, blue chip art galleries and various stately homes, including Apsley House, Blenheim Palace, and Waddeston Manor.

What services do you provide?

Restoration of Furniture, Paintings, Fine and Contemporary Art, Ceramics, Historic Interior and Architectural Features, Prints and Multiples, Sculpture and Objects; Picture Framing, Bespoke Object Display Mounts

Please describe a recently completed project or tell us about the bespoke service that you offer

"In 2019, Plowden & Smith undertook an exciting multifaceted furniture restoration, art restoration and picture framing project for a family who were returning to London after living in the United States for a number of years. Our clients wanted their new home (a spacious 19th century townhouse near Sloane Square) to be a relaxed family-friendly space, that would still provide a stylish backdrop for their impressive collection of art that included works by Andy Warhol, Barbara Hepworth and Damien Hirst.

We condition-checked all the art that had been shipped from the US, and then based on our assessment cleaned or carried out minor consolidation treatment where needed.

Our clients had also inherited several family portraits dating from the early 19th Century, which our Senior Paintings Conservator cleaned, relined and restretched. Whilst the paintings were being treated in our studio, our specialist decorative arts conservators restored damaged and missing detailing to their original gilt gesso picture frames.

Our clients were delighted to learn that we also made, as well as restored, picture frames, as they had recently acquired two paintings to join some existing works intended for their new hallway and needed exact two replicas of this style of picture frame.

This project also involved a substantial amount of furniture restoration. Prior to the family moving in, all the furniture that had been shipped from the US was assessed for wear and damage. Because of delays in the furniture arriving in the UK, any required restoration work needed to be completed to a very tight deadline. Treatments included removing age and use-related wear, minor chips and scratches surfaces, which although relatively minor restoration work, made a big impact in reviving and refreshing these pieces, and the rooms they were intended for.

A sofa designed by Zaha Hadid required more substantial restoration to remove a mark on the leather and some deep scratches to its polished metal frame; and a desk that had been in the family since the 19th Century, and earmarked for the study, was missing a handle and one of the drawers didn’t open properly. As we have an extensive collection of antique wood and furniture fittings, we were able to replace these missing details with period-appropriate replacements.

A 19th Century rosewood armchair was also missing some of the carved detail from its show frame, which one of our furniture restorers recreated. This chair was then reupholstered in a new contemporary fabric chosen by the clients to give a much-loved family heirloom a fresh lease of life. 

Finally, as we were very conscious that this was to be a family home; we made and fitted a few discreet security fixings for several of our clients’ smaller sculptures, including an Elisabeth Frink bronze edition (that we also made a bespoke patinated wooden plinth mount for), which we felt were at greater risk of being knocked over.

This was a fantastic project that involved numerous members of our talented and diverse restoration team, which really shows the benefit in terms of ease and convenience of being able to rely on one specialist team."