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Or work in gilding and gilded wood restoration


dorure à la feuille d'or et à la détrempe

Our workshop uses the different gilding techniques such as gold, copper or silver-leaf plating.

For the restoration of gilded wood and if necessary, we first undertake a restoration of the structure for sculptures, assemblies, keys, pediment supports and other patterns. Then the gilding itself may be restored. Gaps are filled in with thick whiting and the gilding is restored.

We adapt the gilding techniques based on the period, gilding method and colour of the bole and gold. Our restoration choices are made after a study and analysis of the whole item.

In case of restoration, our interventions are limited only to the deteriorated parts to preserve as much as possible the coating and gilding. Chipped primers are reattached. Gaps are filled in with thick whiting after having been prepared. The colour of the bole and gold are chosen on the basis of the existing elements. Gold leaf is plated only on restored areas. Wear and tear of the edges and toning (pigments in glue) enable us to soften the restoration.

Most XVIIIth century gilded items were made using water gilding. They often present important wear and tear, however it is quite frequent to note they were completely regilded in the XIXth. This gilding technique allows us to burnish certain areas with an agate stone. In the XIXth century, the use of mordant gilding for matte areas is more common.

Water gilding requires several steps

Primers are composed of a mineral filler (Meudon chalk, kaolin), a binder (rabbit-skin glue) and a solvent (water). They are applied in 10 to 12 coats. The surface is then smoothed. Follows a work of reparure application of bole on the areas that will be burnished. Gold leaves are applied with water.  They are then covered with a light coat of skin glue for matage. The burnishing is made by pressing down the gold leaf with an agate stone and therefore render it smooth and shiny. Follows a toning process of varied intensity based on the desired aspect.

Checking the supports for water and gold-leaf gilding

Checking the supports (dusting, degreasing)

Priming for water and gold-leaf gilding


Reparure for water and gold-leaf gilding


Water gold-leaf gilding

Water gold-leaf gilding

Burnished and mated gilding on water and gold-leaf gilding

Gilding after burnishing and matage

The mordant gilding technique

The mordant gilding technique with a twelve-hour or three-hour oil mixtion is quicker and easier. It does not allow the same contrasts of matte and shiny areas as water gilding. The support remaining softer, it is not possible to use burnishing wih an an-gate stone. Moreover, the oil film slightly thickens volumes.

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