A perfect topic following the New Gilded Age. Verre Eglomise from the French term meaning gilded glass, is a decorative technique in which the back side of glass is gilded with gold or metal leaf.
In one of a number of related processes, the metal is fixed using a gelatin adhesive, which results in a mirror-like, reflective finish in which designs are then engraved. The metal leaf may be applied using oil-based adhesives (goldsize varnish) to achieve a matte finish. The gilding may also be combined with reverse painting on glass.
The technique dates back to the pre-Roman eras, but its name is derived from 18th-century French decorator and art-dealer Jean-Baptiste Glomy (1711–1786), who is responsible for its revival.
One of the key historical periods of the art was in Italy during the 13th to 16th centuries. Small panels of glass with designs formed by engraved gilding were applied to reliquaries and portable altars.
French School, Mary Magdalen
It has also been used throughout Europe since the 15th century, appearing in paintings, furniture, drinking glasses and similar vessels and jewelry. It is also often seen in the form of decorative panels of mirrors, clock faces, and in more recent history, as window signs and advertising mirrors.
Early 19th Century Mirror
The most impressive artist today working in this almost lost technique is Marian Ellner. Ellner came across verre églomisé while studying at the Institut Supérieur de Peinture Van der Kelen-Logelain in Brussels. “Verre églomisé is like a moving painting,” Ellner says, “because it changes depending on the angle at which you look at it.” It’s quite laborious too: A dining-table top can take as long as five months to complete, using tools ranging from gilder’s mops to wood styli.”
For Celerie Kemble’s library in the Kips Bay 2011 Decorator Show House in New York City, Ellner installed a glass-paneled ceiling depicting a luminous sky.
Ellner Moorish Wall Panels with Palladium Leaf, Mica Powders and Polychromes. Really fabulous.
Neoclassical Wall Panels with 22-carat gold leaf and polychromes
Neoclassical Dining Room
Abudabi Reception Desk
Chinoiserie Powder Room
Closeup of the Chinoiserie details. Incredible. Reverse painting the last color is applied first.
Tone on tone Damask
This magnificent work is by Joanne Byrne of Creators of Objects.
Royal Design Studio – is a great source for antique mirror and gilding supplies; as well as one time use use stencils from Modello Designs.
Some instructional videos for those interested in this beautiful art form.
Debbie Clark instructional video
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