The Gilded Age


by Rebecca Falzano
Photography by Scott Dorrance

Since the Egyptians first used gold leaf to adorn tombs and coffins, artisans have sought to capture the brilliance of gold through the process of gilding. Today, the craft remains a significant component of frame making, and can be found in woodwork, signs, bookbinding, pottery, and glass. The technique involves applying a thin layer of gold (or silver) to a surface—traditionally on decorative items such as picture frames, mirrors, and furniture. On the following pages, the mediums range from candlesticks to an antique fire engine.

Though the mediums on which gilders practice their craft have expanded throughout the ages, most of the materials used in present-day gilding are the same as those from Egyptian times. Whether on a traditional frame or piece of furniture, these six Maine gilders have found distinctive ways to make everyday objects gleam.

Caronzz-w2Michele A. Caron
Constantine Collection, 2001
Exposed gesso and basswood, 12k white gold leaf, 23k gold leaf, mixed metals, copper
11.5” x 3” x 3”
Galleries: Scott Potter Gallery, Atelier Gilding
and Framing









Moore-2_wJohanna Moore
Defamation, 2008
Carved and gilded basswood, 22 k gold leaf,
egg tempera
20” x 16”










Kellar_w2Jeff Kellar
Trust, 1997
Wood, tarnished silver leaf
24” x 18” x 1.25”
Galleries: Portland Museum of Art, The Farnsworth Art Museum, Icon Contemporary Art, Richard Levy Gallery











Paul Monfredo

and Nancy McCormick
Seven Fish and Two Trees, 2009
Egg tempera, gold leaf on glued gesso
52” x 30”
Galleries: The Shaw Gallery, Solar Antique Tiles









Gilding_Chaise_wMichele A. Caron
Gilded Chaise, 2007
Plantation-grown mahogany, gesso, traditional water gilding, black lacquer, copper feet
54” x 96” x 34”
Galleries: Scott Potter Gallery,
Atelier Gilding and Framing






Achorn-4_w2Peter Achorn
1911 American LaFrance Steam Fire Engine, 1999
Shaded gold leaf (18k, 23k), enamel paint
10” x 16”

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