Water Gilding

  • Suede evening gloves laid onto a dusk grey mount in a 12mm obeche frame handfinished with white bole and under Art Glass UV

    Suede evening gloves laid onto a dusk grey mount in a 12mm obeche frame handfinished with white bole and under Art Glass UV

  • Suede evening gloves laid onto a dusk grey mount in a 12mm obeche frame handfinished with white bole and under Art Glass UV

    Suede evening gloves laid onto a dusk grey mount in a 12mm obeche frame handfinished with white bole and under Art Glass UV

  • Suede evening gloves laid onto a dusk grey mount in a 12mm obeche frame handfinished with white bole and under Art Glass UV

    Suede evening gloves laid onto a dusk grey mount in a 12mm obeche frame handfinished with white bole and under Art Glass UV

  • Obeche tray with white bole and distressed 23 carat gold leaf.

    Obeche tray with white bole and distressed 23 carat gold leaf.

  • Obeche tray with white bole and distressed 23 carat gold leaf.

    Obeche tray with white bole and distressed 23 carat gold leaf.

  • Abstract canvas on a Bird and Davis stretcher with subframe and gessoed obeche tray frame.

    Abstract canvas on a Bird and Davis stretcher with subframe and gessoed obeche tray frame.

  • Abstract canvas on a Bird and Davis stretcher with subframe and gessoed obeche tray frame.

    Abstract canvas on a Bird and Davis stretcher with subframe and gessoed obeche tray frame.

This range of water gilded frames uses the same traditional techniques which go back as far as the Renaissance and beyond, as outlined by Cellini in his treatise of 1568. It is called water gilding on account of the base underlying the gold leaf being made from rabbit skin glue, and involves up to 10 layers of gesso and 6 layers of bole. Bole, which is a coloured clay material, is finished to a high polished surface, and acts as a cushion for the gold leaf to sit on. The gesso and bole are made up by hand from scratch using rabbit skin glue, chalk, and hard bole which is ground to a fine powder. Gold leafing is a high quality 23 carat Italian product, never the cheaper metal foil composites.
Water gilding and plain bole finishes are equally suitable for works on paper requiring mounting and glazing, or oil on canvasses calling for a tray type frame with a floating gap around the artwork. The emphasis is on simple modern profiles and finishes, with a choice of differing underlying bole colours including black, stone white and blue. The gold leaf can be polished to a solid gold or else treated to a distressing process where the overlapping leaves can be revealed and a little of the underlying bole colour revealed. Alternatively frames can be supplied finished with just plain white gesso or a plain bole (on top of gesso) with choice of colour left to the customer.