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Restoring Precious Memories: Art Makeovers

Lowcountry man specializes in art makeovers.

Clyde Williams’ forte is restoring art.

For more than three decades, the Beaufort resident has rescued thousands of paintings, antique figurines and works of art that would have otherwise been destroyed.

When asked what types of art he restores, Williams’ answer is similar to that of Bubba Gump when describing ways to cook shrimp.

“Oil on canvas, acrylic on canvas, oil and acrylic on board, silk and other fabrics, figurines, wood,” Williams said, before taking a breath and continuing his list. “Frames and gilding, photographs, antique and fine furniture, metal and wood sculptures, old magazines and rare books, murals … ”

Williams’ inspiration to pursue a career in art came at a young age when he was moved by the words of Confucius. William Leon Stacks, a late Hilton Head Island artist, recited the famous quote by the Chinese philosopher to Williams: “If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.”

Those words always stuck with Williams. He always loved art in school and had answered a newspaper ad to learn picture framing. He eventually worked at Stacks’ studio as a master framer, picture placement designer and eventually took over all full restoration projects.

He smoothes out creases, fills in missing paint and repairs artwork damaged by fire, smoke, water, mold and mildew. He takes out scratches, brightens faded colors and replaces missing parts and pieces.

Here are a few examples of his work

MAN WITH MUSTACHE This oil on canvas was damaged from heat during a fire and also had water damage. Through a full restoration, the painting was preserved and brought back to its original splendor.

CAMEL This camel’s neck was fractured. After a tedious repair, it is now as strong as ever.

YOUNG GIRL This oil on canvas had spider cracks and a collection of soil built up over the years. After cleaning and re-stretching the painting, it is back to its original state.

L SHAPE TEAR This painting’s L-shape tear is now undetected after repair & retouching.

Click on each image to see the restoration.