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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Sealing Gold leafApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-07-20 20:56:25 ... Most recent comment 2018-07-23 17:59:42

    ​Hello, I am working on a oil gilding project. I am gilding with 23k best surface goldleaf on top of a wooden, linen lined, gessoed board. I have used shellac for my first surface layer and for size application, I have used Lafranc Charbonoble 12 hr size. What is your best recommendation to seal the goldleaf after application is complete.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​We will be getting to the particulars soon on your query but first what is your purpose for sealing the gold? You likely have a very good one but for us to be able to provide helpful info here it is good to understand your reasoning. ANY coating applied over gilding will "rob" the surface of its treasured lustre....but perhaps this is what you are going for?

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2018-07-20 22:38:23
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Hi, I am working on an icon with a large surface area of gold, with that, the gold is at risk for damage. 

    2018-07-21 10:43:40
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Well to be frank gold is always at "risk" I suppose. How important is preserving the current appearance of the gold to you? There are NO coatings that will make the gold appear "the same" after application...Honestly, any of the traditional recipes that call for the occasional use of coatings (for gilding) are intended for manipulating the final appearance of the gold (e.g. matting and/or imparting a particular color). Shellac will certainly work as long as the ethanol within the shellac solution does not bite into the mordant. We have not tested L&B's 12 hr mordant for ethanol sensitivity....yet another consideration is how LONG to wait before varnishing the gold. We will attempt to also reach out to our contact at L&B to see if we can gather more info on their recommendation.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2018-07-21 23:18:37
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​The short answer will be to seal the oil sized gold layer with clear shellac. Please note that 12 hr size dries very, very slowly, allowing a few weeks after the gilding to dry is recommended. If the gold color seems a bit light the final shellac layer can be tinted with Dragons Blood and or Gamboge, and before the final patina finish is applied. Then the  choice of applying either an oil (Japan) or water based (Casein) patina over the shellac layer. There are always questions; Did the gilder prepare their own shellac or is it store bought, if they prepared their own it is recommended that they cut with additional alcohol as that shellac is stronger than store bought.

    Martin Kotler

    Frame Conservator. Smithsonian American Art Museum

    2018-07-23 17:57:54
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Thanks Martin

    I would add that if you are working on artwork, I would suggest using more lightfast alcohol soluble dyes rather than the traditional gamboge and dragon’s blood resins as those are quite fugitive to light.

    Brian Baade
    2018-07-23 17:59:42

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