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Subject: Gilding


From: Berit Moller <beritogbent>
Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2000
Jim Moss <clkmkr [at] tiac__net> writes

>I would like to inquire of the Cons DistList members who work on the
>preservation of buildings the same question: how long would the
>gilding on a wooden object be expected to realistically last (an
>example might be on a dome of a building) in an oceanside
>environment: extremes of temperature, very high winds, lots of
>moisture, driving rains, strong sun, most likely lots of airborne
>particulate and salts? Are there special techniques, materials, or
>sealants that need to be used to increase the longevity? Does
>gilding come in various thicknesses?  From conversations with some
>other conservators, the use of protective coatings was discouraged.

In Denmark gilding is often used on roofs and other parts of
buildings. The gilding lasts for much more 25 years. But the gilding
is done on a 'dead' surface like copper of stone. I think your
problem is the wood on which the gilding is laid. The changes in
weather makes the wooden structure move thereby making cracks in the
gilding size. That weakens the film holding the gold leaf and the
gilding starts falling off. Because of this gilding like other sorts
of coatings such as paint on wooden surfaces have a relatively sort
lifetime. The problem is the wood and I don't think you can seal the
wooden surface to such an extend that it will not move according to
the climate changes. You are right about a protective film for the
gold is *not* necessary--on the contrary I think it might create new
problems.  Gold comes in various thicknesses and there are special
sorts for outdoor work.

Berit Moller
Conservator of Paintings and painted objects
Royal Danish Court
Fr VII's Palae

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:6
                   Distributed: Friday, July 21, 2000
                        Message Id: cdl-14-6-005
Received on Tuesday, 18 July, 2000

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