Verre Églomisé

“Verre Églomisé (induratura fuq il-ħġieġ) – the practice of reverse gilding and etched painting on glass incorporating gold and silver leaf – is one of the many gilding techniques practised by John Pace at his Marsaxlokk gilding studio. Standard glass thicknesses and beveled edges are available.”

Verre églomisé, from the French term meaning ‘glass gilded’, is a process where glass is gilded with gold or metal leaf using a weak solution. Its name derives from the 18th century French decorator and art-dealer Jean-Baptise Glomy (1711-1786) who is responsible for its repopularisation. This use of gold or silver leaf on glass goes back to early Roman times. It was also popular in England during 18th and 19th century for looking glass mirrors.

The process requires intense planning and preparation. The work is done on the back of the glass, so that the foreground is produced first and the background last. Each precious leaf is applied by hand and adhered to the glass with a gelatin adhesive. All karats of gold and silver leaf may be used. Palladium is the most popular.

Traditional painting and designs are then engraved in the opposite order, with the foreground painted last.  When dry, the gold is very gently rubbed and sealed in black paint. The effect is mirror-like with the lap lines from the leaf fully apparent.

For a more distressed look the leaf may be abraded, revealing the black backup paint when the mirror is viewed from the front. Églomisé paintings are not affected by weather elements, as they are protected on the reverse of the glass.