Gilt leather, also known as Spanish leather, is widely found in historic houses and in private hands and is often in need of conservation and restoration. Gilt leather is not really gold. It is made by applying silver leaf to the leather and then applying a yellow varnish over the silver to give it a golden colour. The leather is usually moulded with a design in a similar way to embossed wall paper. The design is then picked out with colour. Alternatively the leather may be decorated with punches,or the leather may simply be painted. Not all painted leather is necessarily gilt leather. Decorative leather of this type is most commonly found on folding screens, but it also appears on wall hangings, and as coverings on furniture.
Holes and splits in the leather can be repaired, missing areas can be replaced
|Home||A painted leather screen prior to conservation. The leather had been damaged in a flood, was pulling apart, and the paint was blistering. Property of a private client in the USA.|
|The same leather screen as shown above, after repair of the split. In addition, the decorative surface has been cleaned and consolidated.|
A very rare flocked gilt leather screen conserved for Wallington, The National Trust. The leather is tooled with small decorative punches, and then a flocked red and green decoration has been applied.
Detail from the Wallington flocked gilt leather screen. After conservation.
©2006 Sturge Conservation Studio