samedi 23 novembre 2013
Editions Vial: english summary for the book
Craftsmen (gilders, but also woodworkers, roofers, glassmakers, craftsmen in wrought iron and bronze), antique dealers, art historians, collectors, and naturally curious people in love with beautiful things:
Two gilders from the restoration workshop of the Palace of Versailles wrote this abundantly illustrated technical book. They are in a privileged position to be able to pass down to the reader the methods of their trade, basing their explanations on a great number of exceptional objects, such as furniture and frames, wood panelling, stuccos and even roof ornaments. This is no simple book about one method of gilding, but is a reference book on all the techniques of the gilding trade.
After a few thoughts given to the particularities attached to the practice of their trade in the settings of the Palace, the authors look at the products and tools used. In order to leave no stone unturned, they do not hesitate to do a report at the last goldbeaters’ manufacturer in France (the Dauvet house, in activity since 1834) or at a gilding tools’ manufacturer (the metal scrapers of the Da Silva manufacturer). Gilding techniques are then described in great length, with many photographs which show the movements and methods used by professionals. All of the eighteen steps of water gilding, which is the most beautiful style because of its incomparable shine, are detailed. Mordant gilding, mainly used outdoor at Versailles, is then explained. Background patterns and other gilding techniques (such as Greek, on paper, on plaster, on glass, with adhesive leaves) are also exposed.
A close look is then given to around twenty masterpieces held in the collections of the Palace and which have been restored by the workshop. Each intervention is described and illustrated with detailed photographs. Some rooms with magnificent carved and gilded wood panelling are photographed and used to show the work of past and present gilders. The last pages are dedicated to decorative painting (faux-marble and wood imitation) often associated with gilding. The book ends with a glossary, short biographies of the craftsmen who have been quoted, a list of websites, manufacturers and specialised books.