Laurence Gillery restores and sells a sorts of gilded wood, from the frame to the console, from the chandelier to the small statue.
In her workshop at the back of the boutique, she patiently sculpts, glues and regilds using gold leaf, with a strong predilection for objets from the 17th and 18th Centuries. Her refinishing is precise en focused, the idea is not to make everything new, but rather to bring back the soul of a damaged object.
Gilding is said to date as far back as 2600 B.C. Today, specialised craftsmen or gilding ornementists are dedicated mostly to the restoration on works of art, furniture and decorative architectural artefacts belonging to private individuals, public monuments and national museums.
Time and time again, they keep repeating the same gestures and using the same century-old “recipes” that have not changed much, ever since Cennino Cennini’s Libro dell’arte, in 1437, whether priming, gesso-reshaping, applying the basis itself, overlaying the gold leaf or the finishing stage is involved. Each leaf is one 10,000th of a millimetre in thickness and is gently positioned with a wide brush gilder, made marten hair. Then comes the burnishing stage where the gold is polished with an agate in order to enhance the level of brilliancy desired. In general, cavities remain dull in order to accentuate the shape of ornaments, while patina (made of a mixture of diluted animal glue and watercolour paint) provide the restored sections with the general hue and wear of the rest of the artefact.