Water Gilding Photo Section

So, by now you should understand the basic principles of oil gilding and perhaps have some experience in practical work. Here we have a selection of oil gilding photos that you can look at. Each one can be enlarged for a closer look and has a small brief underneath it, describing the picture and the process.


Japanese Cabinet

This cabinet has some lovely gilded highlights. The surface of the cabinet has aged to give the gilded areas a warmth and personality as they have degraded. This effect can be created with skilled use of pure alcohol and cotton.


Cherub Table

This table as some elegant carved cherubs appearing to hold the top. Over time, the gold has worn down, so that the red bole glows through the surface, developing the character of the piece and enhancing the figures natural curves.



This frieze has very intricate carving on it. It has been gilded on a darker bole background, which adds a sombre quality to the overall. style. This aged look can be created using rottenstone to rub the gold back to the underlying bole.


Granito Frame

This frame is a wonderful example of the art of 'granito', seen in the wheat stalks on the arches. This technique is accomplished by scratching a design into the gesso, before application of the bole. Even a slight scratch will be seen.


Vinatage Chair

This Louis XV styled chair has gold upon a red bole. Over time, the gold has worn away to reveal the underlying bole. When replicating this type of finish, it is important to remove the gold in the correct areas, that'll naturally wear down.


Decorative Frame

This frame has raised areas on the surface that are gilded. One technique to do this, is know as 'pastiglia' where layers of gesso are painted as a design to create a 3d relief on the surface. This is between the gesso and bole applications.


Mary and Child

Water gilding became an important part of the renaissance and was used extensively in religious panels and paintings. The gilding was completed first in the desired areas, and the paints are then applied upon the surface of the gesso, which is left bare.


Asian Temple

This varied selection of statues have a wonderful range of gilded finish. Surfaces can be left matt, glossy, solid or distressed. The effects can be used on newly gilded surface to create a feeling of age, using an assortment of varied techniques.


Textured Frame

Most water gilded pieces are left to age naturally, and can last for hundreds of years without losing any of their charm. The ageing process is firmly embraced in water gilding and developing the skills of age will require plenty of skill and practice.