Anyone know good gilders?

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    Does anyone know anyone who can gild ( not sure if I spelt it right) my harps in the United Kingdom? Had a quote and it seems really high. ( £1800 pounds to do the crown and base) If not harp experts does anyone know people who gild picture frames or antiques?


    Harp restorers all of whom can probably gild and replace missing gesso include in no particular order: Pilgrim, Munson and Harbour, Niebisch and Tree, Tim Hampson, Simon Capp, John Page, Mike Parker, Morley’s must have someone and there are more – someone else was advertising in either the Edinburgh harp festival brochure or UKHA but I can’t remember her name! Or as you say anyone with picture frame experience. If you are thinking of varnishing the gilding you might want to consider dutch leaf for the price.


    The morley just needs gilding – no replacement gesso . I don’t mind – I just want a nice finish- I thought about picture frame restorers as they have experience gilding and work with the same materials as a harp is made from.
    I just feel that some harp restorers charge an over inflated price because it’s a harp . Some of the quotes I have received are Rediculous!!!


    A picture frame person should be fine. If you want oil gilding youc ould probably do it yourself. Water gilding on the other hand is intransigent!


    If you want a good finish then I think you will find the price you mention is not overinflated! It’s a really labour intensive job as I understand it. To get a good finished product there is a lot of preparation work that must be done. The people Tacye mentioned are all excellent. You could also try Mike parfett.


    Repairing the gilding on a harp is time consuming and therefore costly. Most of the time is spent preparing the surface to take the gold. The gesso may be there but not adhered well. It may be flaking off. If the gilder has to repair gesso, then he/she has to take that area down to bare wood. New gesso will not stick to old gesso. Even if there are traces of old gesso on the area, the new gesso won’t stick and will ultimately come off. After the areas have been repaired and the new gold put on, it then has to be toned to match the old gold. Gold doesn’t tarnish or darken, but the finish on to of it to protect it does. So the gilder has to match that. My gilder in Boston is a genius at repairing gilding on harps. When she’s done, the harp looks like the old instrument with no damage ever having happened. I honestly don’t know how she does it but she does. If you go with the cheapest gilder, then it may look like radiator paint on the instrument.


    Leon, I’ve passed your details on to a friend in Cornwall who is an accomplished gilder and I believe he is contacting you any day now. Hope it helps.

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