The ancient craft with its secrets
The art of gilding has changed very little over the years. Although the number of skilled practitioners carrying on the tradition has declined, the techniques, tools and materials have remained essentially the same. The history of gilding can be traced back into furthest antiquity. Treasures found in the ancient Egyptian pharaohs’ tombs have revealed evidence of golds enduring quality. There are two periods when gold leaf was used extensively and lavishly. The first was in early Renaissance Italy and the second in 18th and 19th-century France when the art of gilding reached its zenith. The gilded contents of our palaces, grand estates, fine country houses, galleries and museums are a testament to gold’s timeless allure. From the earliest examples of illuminated manuscripts and on through the centuries to the present day, the gilder’s skill with gold leaf has embellished much of what we feel is precious and worth preserving for future generations.
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Photography by Croatian Embassy in London