Carrara marble - is a type of white or blue-grey marble popular for use in sculpture and building decor. It is quarried at the city of Carrara in the province of Massa-Carrara (Tuscany, Italy).
Carrara marble has been used since the time of Ancient Rome; the Pantheon and Trajan's Column in Rome are constructed of it. Many sculptures of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo's David, were carved from Carrara marble. For Michelangelo at least, Carrara marble was valued above all other stone, except perhaps that of his own quarry in Pietrasanta. The Marble Arch in London and the Duomo di Siena are also made from this stone, as are the interiors of Manila Cathedral, the cold-white marbles of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the campus of Harvard Medical School.
There is no doubt that giltwood furniture is an expression of grandeur and luxury. The golden hue of these pieces comes from the application of real gold leaf—a highly valued material both then and now. When it comes to buying antique giltwood furniture for your collection, there are many different considerations to keep in mind, many of which come down to personal preference.
Origins of Giltwood
The gilt gesso technique appeared in England at the end of the seventeenth century with the work of Jean Pelletier, a Huguenot craftsman who received royal patronage at Hampton Court and Kensington Palace. James Moore, a royal cabinetmaker working in the early eighteenth century, expanded on this technique with increased drama and exaggeration to the carving. Throughout the Georgian era in the eighteenth century, gilded furniture was highly prized as some of the finest furniture available as it emulated the ever popular taste for French style and décor.
Gesso is a type of plaster that is prepared of finely ground chalk, applied onto the wooden surface in a series of layers—at least fifteen layers were needed to achieve the desired thickness. Once dried, the craftsmen could cut into the new surface to create different designs. When the designs were complete, the gilding could be applied. To gild the surface, a red clay ground, known as bole, would be spread onto the surface to prepare for the laying of the gold leaf.