Dating back to ancient civilisation, gilding is a process used to overlay furniture and other objects with pressed sheets of metal to convey the appearance of solid gold or other precious metals.
Typically damage is from scratches, abrasions or staining from contact with water, solvents or residual deposits such as soot. Gold leaf wear is apparent when the clay bole layer (often a red shade) starts to appear through the worn leaf. The appearance of cracks in the gilded finish is a common sign of ageing and not normally a cause for concern. If the gold or gesso layer is loose or lifting, this may indicate the gilding layers are delaminating from the substrate.
Gilding tends to be applied to intricate decorative pieces which are prone to impact damage. Where elements of the piece are broken, missing or irreparable, we can create replacement wood and gesso carving, ranging from the simplest mouldings to the most elaborate furniture and ornaments.
We carry out both water and oil gilding using gold or silver leaf. All new surfaces are toned to blend in with the original finishes elsewhere on the piece.