Gilt leather

SRAL has, over the years, restored various gilt leather ensembles across the Netherlands. Gilt leather consists of leather covered with silver foil on which a yellow-orange "gold lacquer” was applied. After applying this gold lacquer a relief was embossed in the leather; in the seventeenth century, this was a fairly deep relief while gilt leather from the eighteenth century is much flatter. The lacquer may also be painted, either before or after pressing the relief. The sheets or strips of gilt leather were sewn together with rope.

The conservation of gilt leather broadly covers three aspects: its hanging on the wall, the leather support and the decorative layer (silver leaf, gold lacquer, paint and varnish). SRAL specialises in the former and latter aspects. For restoring the leather we collaborate with Elisabet Nijhoff Asser. Here, too, the close cooperation of the various SRAL employees adds significant value for the restoration.

SRAL is currently conducting a pilot restoration of part of the gilt leather from the B&W room of the Venlo Town Hall. A detailed study of the varnish and paint layers has brought to light that the black paint of the flat sections was initially green.

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