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Hankinson Group Agree Gilding Is An Art
The origins of gilding go back many years. Where was it used? Almost all of the world’s cultures have used gold. Tracing the chronology of gold’s use in art and culture reveals its broad appeal. While there are examples of gold foil wrapped objects which date from as early as 3000 BCE, the historical origins of gilding using gold leaf starts later. Egyptian tomb paintings and reliefs from the 23rd century BCE are the first known examples depicting gold being beatien into leaf.
Why is the process of applying gilding considered an “art”?
Gold pounded into leaf is a whisper thin sheet of paradox; properly applied it can transform a piece of “common” material into what looks like solid, polished gold. It is ironically both delicate and strong. A sheet of gold leaf is so fragile that it is impossible to handle barehanded without it tearing and collapsing, practically into thin air. Gold leaf is so fine that it is incapable of supporting its own weight.
Despite the fragile nature of its form, the material itself is so chemically and metallurgically stable that it will not tarnish or deteriorate as long as the substrate it lies on remains stable. That being said, on an unstable surface simply rubbing a soft, slightly moist cloth across an unsealed gilded surface can actually remove the gold.
The moral of the story is to never argue with a Gilder!