Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Classic Gilded Furniture

I am always drawn to a room with varying textures . Texture, composition, color and great design sets a room apart from an ordinary one. The top of this desk is gilded and hand punched. The white and bole that you see are the layers of the preparation of the wood to receive the gold leaf. After the design was carved it would have been layered with gesso. The gesso is a chalky ground finish to apply the red bole. The red bole is an Armenian clay that is mixed with fish gelatin (to act as a glue)  and applied to the gesso ground. The bole is what is used in water-gilding to have the leaf adhere to the finish. After years of use you will start the see the wear of the gold leaf and these processes are beautifully exposed. What I wanted you to see here was the punching.
The punching on the wood is done with a small round tool and is lightly hammered, making this indentation into the wood. It is painstakingly time consuming. However, you cannot get this look without it. I love how it is the top to a table. You can also do this technique on embossed leather and have a similar effect.
This piece truly is the most spectacular bench I have ever laid eyes on. I am drawn to Scandinavian and Gustavian style benches and painted furniture. However, this piece is spectacular. Animal legs of any kind on pieces are highly collectible, but then to have the addition of the genre scene! The printed velour is in the category of Fortuny; very desirable and is the perfect crowning glory for this piece.  

For my decorative artist friends, I know your heart is stopping on this one. Carolyn Roehm's book "A Passion for Interiors" is a must read. Enjoy


  1. Book on order- check.

    One of my favorite parts of gilding is the laying of the gesso layers. It's unlike any other thing we do. Nice to hear others appreciate it!

  2. The top of that desk looks amazing and nice learning about the punching. I have two antique leather pieces that are "punched" but didn't know that's what it was called. I ordered Carolyn's book last night and can't wait to receive it I love looking at pieces such as these.

    Enjoy your evening!

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  4. These furniture reminded me of some of the pieces I saw from an office furniture store in nyc. They look very elegant and classy. I love the combination of rich materials into wood.

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