Gilding is a decorative arts technique in which gold leaf or powder is applied to an appropriately prepared surface such as wood, metal, stone, leather, fabric, glass, composite materials and architectural features of buildings. The process is carried out by hand, using oil or water techniques.
This is a highly skilled and labour-intensive method, replicating the appearance of solid gold. It involves the application of loose sheets of gold onto red, black or yellow clay (bole)
. The clay bole creates a flexible cushioned surface, enabling the creation of a brilliant and exceptionally smooth finish, using an agate burnisher. Water gilding is generally carried out on frames, objects, icons and paintings, in controlled studio conditions, by our master gilders. It can also be carried out in situ provided suitable environmental conditions can be created.
This method is suitable for the majority of interior and exterior surfaces, and is more commonly used than water gilding. Careful surface preparation is essential, using traditional or modern techniques involving gesso or paint. Surfaces suitable for gilding include wood, metal, stone, fabric, glass, and synthetic materials. Gilding can be carried out using traditional oil size or modern acrylic size, depending on the nature of the project. Interior gilding is generally carried out using 23.5 ct gold leaf, or other alloy metal leaf. Exterior gilding requires 23.5 double ct gold leaf.