Colyton House Gilding 




workshop & sales number: 01630 654087

Front Door Logo to airy thiness beat.....John Donne

 antique mirrors ~ conservation ~ restoration ~ gilding



Rubbing water gilded areas with an agate (in very early times dogs teeth were used).  This essentially polishes the bole underneath the gold giving it a very brilliant lustre.


Some gilding terms and information.......also have a look at A Layman's Guide for further information



There are many recipes but generally it’s a mixture of glues, resin, oil, whiting and glycerol melted together, kneaded like dough, pushed into moulds or carved when cold.  It sets hard over time and with age this material tends to show cracks, the intervals of which depend on its thickness.  A piece of moulded composition can be attached to an object where once only wood carving would have provided such detail.  ‘Compo’ was used by the ancient Egyptians but it was made popular by Robert Adam in the mid 18th Century.



Mixtures of oil gilding and water gilding, both burnished and unburnished, are used on frames and objects to give a textured look and highlight detail in different finishes.  Sometimes the gesso is carved with patterns so when the frame is gilded, the carving becomes visible – this is called ETCHING.



With age, water gilded areas tend to show the bole through the gold where it has been worn over the years.  The exposed edges (or ‘lay lines’) of the gold leaf on antiques is very desirable.