I'm beginning to regret doing this but i thought i would give a local London based linenbacker a try instead of shipping to the US. His work looked good on the website, work for museums etc. 2x Japanese tatekan [2-panel] posters, one very rare Bardot poster and one for 'Lone Wolf and Cub:Baby Cart at the River Styx', both needed a fair bit of work some areas of missing paper, tape stains and paint [Bardot].Tears, stains and wear on the 'Lone Wolf and Cub'. A quote was given £325+VAT [tax] each poster [£650 + VAT] which was quite high but considering the work needed i thought i'd go with it.
Alarm bells started ringing when restoration started, there was virtually no communication except to ask me if i wanted more work done to the Bardot poster at an additional cost of £180, the alarming thing apart from the added fee was the low-res photos i received!
I reluctantly agreed and cancelled a quote for a poster frame i had with him as the costs were mounting up, he quoted £1,000 for work to a French one panel for 'Alphaville' i brought in which pointless as i could probably buy a fully restored one at Christies for that price!
I was sent an email saying both posters were ready for collection, needless to say i wasn't too impressed when i saw the results, no photos were provided beforehand other than the 3 low-res ones above. On the Bardot poster the paint was still clearly visable no attempt had been made to remove it, plenty of touch ups still needed throughout the poster, the tape stains lessened but no attempt to airbrush them out.
On the 'Lone Wolf and Cub' poster the fills were done, top one could've looked better, tears on the bottom left, still very clearly visable, black marks still clearly visable, wear on the poster still visable!
Last Thursday i went to his studio which was a pretty awkward meeting with me pointing out that i was very unhappy with the results.
"Why hasn't the poster been retouched?"
I show him my receipt for the quote which clearly states retouching, he then admits he doesn't know why it wasn't done!
"Why hasn't the paint been removed?"
His assistant chimes in "Oh it's oil based paint can't remove that"
Me: "so no attempt was made or email sent to me asking me, looks like poster paint to me, i had an Italian 2-fogli which had the entire title painted over and stenciled with a new title for use in Belgium restored, all the paint came off and it only cost $250 *this was a few years back in 2009 admittedly*
Me: "The black marks, wear and pin holes on the 'Lone Wolf' poster haven't been touched, why?"
His assistant: "The black marks are surface wear"
Me: "Some of these flaws should have come out in the deacidification and bleach baths"
Personally i don't think this has been done! I was livid!
I won't name this individual as he still has my posters promising more work, he'll let me know when they're ready, which if the quality of the work hasn't improved i'll be rejecting again.
What would you guys do in this situation?