As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words".
The photo above is a sample of the laborious process of gilding from the beginning to the end.
There are many ways of gilding and many recipes for making gesso. Throughout history, gilders have jealously guarded their own secret recipes from other gilders. This competition created many different recipes for gesso and many techniques for water gilding.
As an example, my own master gilding teacher, Mr. Francisco Mohedano Reyes, (Master gilder, polychromator and restorer, one of the best of his time), told us that he started as an apprentice in a workshop in Andalucia, Spain, and the master gilder that he worked for as an apprentice, locked himself in a room to make recipes of gesso, bole, gilding, etc., so no one could see and discover his secret recipe and technique.
My teacher told us that he had to do thousands of experiments until he found the best recipes and techniques, to achieve the beautiful type of gilding that he produced.
I keep my own notebook with his techniques and recipes as a treasure, as well as a small sample of the different techniques of gilding and polychroming finishes I have done during my three years of study with him.
I share with my students these recipes, as he did with me. Thank you teacher.
Below are some examples of work with him, when i was a student: