On a recent trip to Paris some friends and I were at the Louvre with a guide who was visibly irritated when he caught me pointing out a frame to my friend. He did not understand our interest in the (gorgeous) frame when the painting in it was by DaVinci. Of course the painting was perfection, but that frame… it was the most dreamy shade of gold that is so hard to replicate. When gilding is done properly it will accentuate all of the details in the design. The curves of the scrollwork and the intricate layers of molding will all be defined and elaborated. It is a multi-step process that creates depth and richness and can not be hurried. You can find glorious gilded accents for your home.
The art of gilding dates back to about 2300 B.C. when the Egyptians were using gold leaf to adorn tombs, sarcophagi, and other objects which have been excavated. From paintings of goldsmiths at work we have found that the technique of thinning the gold has not changed and is still done by hand. With better tools today the gold can be pounded a lot thinner now. The Egyptians managed to get it to about the thickness of tinfoil. These days goldsmiths can get it about 100 times thinner.
There are still plenty of artisans out there that use the traditional methods on frames, light fixtures, and other home furnishings that add elegance to any interior. Luckily there is a current trend toward more glamorous interiors and a gold accent can dress up any space.
HOW TO STYLE GILDED ACCENTS FOR YOUR HOME
Try a grouping of gold frames on a side table or hang filling an entire wall. You can leave them empty and let the shapes speak for themselves, or put mirrors in them to give a sense of uniformity.
Flea markets and garage sales are great places to pick up pieces you can gild yourself. If you are going to do this I recommend watching a couple videos on YouTube and buying the proper materials from an artist’s supply store. You can easily find what you need online. Here is a great gilding demonstration video.
Mix some gilt chairs in with your modern pieces or set up a collection of smalls on a gilt tray on your cocktail table. If you feel like the gold stands out too much against the rest of your room add in a pillow or throw with a bit of gold in it to tie it all together. There are all sorts of shiny gold items out there that don’t have to be fancy or formal. Have fun with a bit of sparkle!
SHOP GILDED ACCENTS FOR YOUR HOME
Gilded Apartment of Louis XIV: Photo by Madeleleine Donovan
Louis Sconce, $1,050
Venice Framed Mirror in Champagne Gold – Antique Gold, from $179.49
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