Architectural Gilding Services
Return your gilded structure to its original historic glory.
Throughout history and all across the world, metals like gold, silver, and other metal leaf varieties have been used to stunning effect in both exterior architecture and interior design. It is regularly found gleaming atop the domes of capitol buildings, statues, and other landmarks, inspiring solemnity and awe when incorporated into the paint, trim, furniture, and other decorative elements of structures like civic buildings, churches, theatres, and residences.
Unfortunately, as with other decorative elements, gilded items and structures can lose their luster over time. Improper handling, use, and cleaning can cause layers of gold leaf to flake, peel, or become otherwise damaged.
Changes to the underlying structure (e.g., swelling plaster from water damage) can cause substantial harm as the metal leaf naturally shifts and adjusts itself to accommodate. Heavy rain, sleet, and snow can damage exterior gilding, as can items and debris carried by strong winds. Incompatible finishes, improper materials, and poor substrate preparation can reduce the lifespan of these precious metals as well.
At John Canning & Co., we have years of experience preserving, restoring, and recreating gilding on buildings of all types and styles. From the highest of domes to the interiors of iconic landmarks, churches, theatres, and residences, we’ve gilded them all—including the application and glazing of more than 90,000 square feet of gold, silver, and copper leaf in ten weeks at Radio City Music Hall.
If you would like to connect with one of our professional consultants please request a consultation below.
Our Gilding Process
No two gilding projects are exactly alike; the precise steps involved will vary from project to project. That being said, our process often follows the process outlined below.
Before conducting any work, our first goal is to understand the history of the structure, including the role played by gilding in both original and current contexts. It is not uncommon for gilding restoration to be one part of an extensive project that also includes wood, stone, or plaster stabilization and restoration or other decorative work.
At the same time, we must understand the full scope of the project being pursued, including the budget and expectations, as well as the aspirations of the owner and key stakeholders. Owners may request value engineering like using aluminum leaf with a glaze or Dutch metal rather than traditional gold leaf. Samples of the various metal leafs will be provided for comparison.
Once the project is fully understood, the underlying structure must be evaluated to determine whether or not there is any underlying damage or instabilities which may impact the gilded surface. If issues are identified, then actions will be taken to prevent future damage. Only then will work proceed with the application of metal leaf and glazing.
The costs associated with a gilding project will depend on a number of factors. Some of these include:
- The type of metal leaf to be used (gold, silver, etc.)
- The size, complexity, and scope of the project
- Required access (e.g., whether the surface is located on a wall vs. a ceiling vs. an exterior surface, like a dome)
- Whether the underlying structure must be repaired, stabilized, or restored
- Special materials costs
For this reason, it is difficult for us to say what a typical cost will be. The surest way to get an accurate picture of what the costs may entail would be to contact us directly.
In addition to architectural and exterior gilding, we specialize in a number of other complementary services, including:
Canning understands materials and specifications, especially traditional materials and techniques, and understands and appreciates the benefits of a truly collaborative effort in design excellence. [WV Capitol Dome]
Canning has brought an outstanding common sense attitude of accomplishment to their work when many others are lost within myriad complex issues.