24 carat gold leaf oil gilded finials
A water gilded 23.5 carat gold leaf and craquelure decorative lamp base

Methods and Materials


The studio undertakes both new and restoration projects. Gilding is the art of decorating an object with gold leaf. This is achieved by applying a thin covering of gold on to a prepared surface. The technique and tools have changed little since antiquity and its art can be traced back to the Egyptian period.

Gilding Categories
Gilding falls into two main categories which are water gilding and oil gilding.

Water gilding used on frames and furniture requires a wooden support on which a series of preparatory layers are applied. These layers are always set down in the same sequence: size, gesso, bole (coloured clay) and finally gilding.

Oil gilding is durable and therefore suitable for exterior decoration such as gates, railings, weather veins and lettering. It can also be used for interior application in areas such as decorative ceilings, cornices and capitals.


Decorative Gilding

Pastiglia (raised gesso)
Gesso is loaded on a brush then drawn onto a previously gessoed surface, creating a smooth, rounded effect.

Sgraffito (Italian scratched)
The technique of drawing through a layer of egg tempera paint applied over a water gilded ground. This treatment is used on panel paintings to give texture and colour to flat areas. It is also used on the central flat band or corners of frames.

Verre Eglomisť (glass gilding)
A technique where glass is decorated with engraved gold or silver leaf from the reverse side, dating back to the pre-Roman era. In the 18th century Jean Baptiste Glomy, a French decorator and art-dealer, from whom the name Verre Eglomisť is derived, reintroduced and popularised the technique.

Craquelure (textured gesso)
A manual technique that produces a cracked effect on fabric pre-coated with gesso for decorative frames and panels.