Glass Gilding

Glass gilding for Interior Architecture & Design

Mark Gillette commissioned this reverse gilded window display door design for his interior design & architecture business premises in Chester.
The specifications were for it to look unmistakably hand painted to fit in perfectly with the vintage and antique items they sell on a regular basis.

Glass gilding at no.14

A reverse glass water gilded door number at no. 14. This job was part of a triple glazed unit.

Glass Gilding on Jewellers Shop Front Panel

This is a glass panel I gilded for a jewellers in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

This sign is 450mm X 5600mm and is in 3 sections with the largest piece at 2440mm in the centre, this is as large as the glass can be manufactured.

The company I produced the panel for is a high class jewellery maker and gold and silver valuer. The client is a well established jeweller ‘D J Massey and son’ and the company has been trading since 1900 at a number of stores throughout the uk.

The glass is toughened at 4mm to reduce the weight and produced by Pilkingtons.
First the glass must be fully cleaned on both sides using a paste formulated of whiting and mentholated spirits.

The design is the sketched out on lining paper to the exactly size of the panel. The design is then taped to the front of the panel, I then hand painted the outline of any lettering on the reverse side of the glass, the design at this stage is painted in reverse.

I then gilded the reverse of the glass where the lettering would be and over any outlining I previously painted using 23.5crt gold leaf supplied by Wrights of Lymm.

The loose gold is applied using a squirrel or pony hair tip, the adhesive commonly known as ‘size’ in the signwriting trade is a mixture of gelatin and distilled water.

The distilled water I use was acquired from Greenall’s brewery which would normally be used in the making of gin. Ironically these type of signs were commonly used in the gin palaces of London before the turn of the century but many where sadly lost in the Great War.

The gold is then left to settle. To watch the drying process is like magic. Over the drying period the gold transforms from a patchy, grainy uneven surface and into a smooth, mirror like sheet of gold complimented by the tough reflective surface of the glass.

The acquired design I sketched up on lining paper then hole punched and pounced with French chalk to the gold surface carefully not to damage the delicate gold, the pounced design is then hand painted in reverse in an imitation gold enamel acting as a bright yellow undercoat for the gold, left to dry then backed up again with a more robust matt blacking enamel.

The excess gold is then cleaned off the glass using gilders soap revealing the golden design on the front of the glass.

With this particular piece the background was painted in a dark royal blue to add colour and compliment the gold.

The blue is then further backed up with 2 more coats of blue and this is then followed by the black backing to further toughen and protect the painted surface.

This sort of sign should last longer than any other sign making material requiring no attention other than the attention of a window cleaner once in a while.
Read a related News Article from the Macclesfield Express.