After restoring a frame, a common requirement we are asked by clients is for it to be gilded, or in some cases, re-gilded. Frames are particularly well suited to gilding – the dimensionality of the frame and the intricate areas of decoration are defined in great detail.
There is a timeless appeal to gilding – historically, gold and silver possess great allure, representing luxury and privilege. The application of gold or silver leaf creates a striking finishing touch to perfectly complement your artwork.
It is a common misconception that gilding is caused by applying gold or silver paint. Real metal, crafted into a thin layer, is carefully used. The process of gilding is a careful and at times, painstaking one, the preparation alone can take several days and multiple coats to achieve the desired look.
In the studio, we use 23.5 carat gold and silver leaf. If the required look is to have the gold or silver leaf take on a dark, glossy finish, the method of water-gilding can be used, whereby loose sheets of gold are applied on a layer of red clay (bole).
The gilt finishes can be hand patinated and aged to match any period, for synchronicity with the style of your picture frame. The impression of ageing is also sometimes favourable to complement the age, style and medium of your painting.
Lost or damaged areas where the leaf has faded or suffered losses can be re-gilded to match the existing finish.