WHY IN DESIGN: Explaining the Beauty and History of Eglomise
Vaughan's Battersea mirror showing a subtle Églomisé
I love French mirrors- you know the ones I mean, those pretty all glass, frameless ones seen almost all over Paris. They're also popular in Venice too, and have become quite popular here in the States. Églomisé is not a design style but an actual technique. The real term for this technique is Verre Églomisé and it was coined from the process to create this beautiful effect. It's like gilding on glass created from behind giving a mirrored effect in the front. It goes way back in history, thought to be a popular technique used by the Romans in the 15th century. It came back into favor in the 18th century by French decorator Jean-Baptiste Glomy who coined the phrase, Verre Églomisé when he started using this old-world design application on glasses, mirrors, furniture, picture frames and more.
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THE PROCESS- It's gilding using either metal leaf which is set with a gelatin then steamed and the desired effect is a mirror-like, reflective finish. It can be achieved by reverse painting prior to the gilding or engraving into the gilded. For a matte finish, the metal (often gold or silver) leaf is applied using an oil-base. This is a tad easier then the other technique of sandwiching the metal'd glass gluing it to another piece of glass, then scraping off the design and an additional layer of hot glass on top to seal in the metal leaf inside. People often think of Églomisé as a sort of distressed look.
THE BATTERSEA MIRROR- All this talk of Verre Églomisé has me thinking of this beautiful Battersea mirror from English furniture and accessory company, Vaughan. I utilized their Battersea mirror in my powder room design (photo above) at the Holiday House Hamptons designer showhouse in the East End of Long, a fundraiser to raise money for breast cancer research. Twenty designers were invited to take a room in this palatial home in the Hamptons and transform it. We anchored the space of this small powder room but with eleven foot ceilings with this large mirror giving a dramatic effect against our root cellar designs' wallpaper. The Vaughan mirror channels the Venetian style of Églomisé and the mirror frame is edged with the engraved circular decoration.