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11885RE: [medieval-leather] Gilding - Gold or Silver

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  • bigfooted rockmidget
    Jun 20, 2013
      Gilding (of leather) was popular in a large part of the middle ages and later,
      although usually in such a way that it is considered over- the-top extravagant
      for modern standards.
      Here are some rather nice examples:

      There are several recipes for making gold for guilding, casting, writing, etc.
      in the Mappae Clavicula. These also involve mixing gold with lead and other
      stuff to make it soft or give it other desirable properties (color). The
      oldest surviving Mappae are from the 9th and 10th century.
      The book contains around 60 recipes dealing with gold and around 10 dealing
      with silver. It also has some recipes on how to make forgeries.

      recipe 250, gilding a skin

      take a red skin and rub it horoughly with pumice stonel then wash it with warm
      water until the water comes off clear; afterwards stretch it on a rack and
      scrape it up to four times ; then stretch it on a place that has a clean
      surface, and even it out thoroughly with a clean piece of wood; Now after it
      has dried, take the white of an egg, dip a clean sponge into the liquid, and
      go over it once in stripes. Now if this is not enough, go over it again; and
      when it has dried, place a leaf, then dip the sponge in water and press the
      leaf to the skin; when it has dried, polish it. Then rub the top of it with a
      clean skin and polish it a second time. Gilding is done in the same way with
      [gum-]tragacanth, but you should put it in water overnight in order to
      dissolve it.

      Hope this helps.

      To: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
      From: Fuersty@...
      Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 18:04:28 -0400
      Subject: [medieval-leather] Gilding - Gold or Silver

      Greetings all,

      I'm working on a book cover project, that I'm trying to reproduce a 15th century design. Because I've never done bookbinding or gilding for that matter, I thought I would ask a few question here first.

      - How common was the use of gilding on book covers during the 15th c. (or is that a more modern process)?

      - Would silver have been used more frequently than gold for this purpose?

      I know gold was used quite a bit on vellum manuscript pages. Silver I believe had lead in it (i think), which would actually eat through the vellum as it aged.

      From what I've been reading, in modern bookbinding, gold leaf is sized onto the leather, stamps are heated up to a specific temperature and basically branding the gold into the leather. Again, is that a modern technique or would they have done embossing without the use of heat?

      I'm finding it hard to locate many references as to what and how early period gilding was done.

      Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.


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