Posted on December 20, 2019
We often hear the term gilded mirrors. But what exactly is gilding?
The term ‘gilding’ is a decorative technique that primarily involves applying fine gold leaf to solid surfaces. Gilding can be done on wooden, stone, or metal surfaces where these get a thin coating of gold on the surface. A gilded object hence is described as ‘gilt’. Beneath the gold layers, you will find layers of gesso and bole.
What is gesso?
Gesso is composed of animal glue and plaster of Paris. The animal glue was traditionally made from rabbit skin. This used to be applied in layers with a brush until reaching the desired level of thickness. This was then scraped and rubbed to make it smooth and then covered with an Armenian bole layer which was a glue and terracotta mix for a warm glow.
This final layer gives the piece a certain level of richness. Specific tools are required for the purpose of gilding. These include a gilder’s cushion, tip and knife. Gilt wall mirrors came into fashion in the latter part of the 17th century. Oval mirrors with ‘Rococo’ gilt frames saw some fame during the early 17th Century.
Gilt mirrors add an element of refined elegance to a decor theme. At Antiques of Woodstock, we have some great options. Browse through our website to have a look.