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Welcome to our gilding & lacquering studio

At Titchmarsh & Goodwin, we have many rich skills and talents under our pitched roof, and nowhere more so than in our gilding studio, where Jazz and Dave (yes, really) spend their time creating rare and beautiful pieces.

Jazz Gaze and Dave Rutherford in our gilding studio
Jazz Gaze and Dave Rutherford in our gilding studio

Dave Rutherford has been with us for about 12 years, having started his career at sign-writer Cubitt & Gotts before moving to GT Ratcliff where he spent 33 years managing the lacquer and gilding department. As well as a year-long project at the Dorchester, he was instrumental in reviving and creating countless pieces of lacquer-ware furniture that have made their way all over the world.

 

Dave drawing a design onto a piece of wood ready for gilding
Dave drawing a design onto a piece of wood ready for gilding

As well as water gilding a selection of exquisite walnut mirrors (more on that in another post), our studio makes amazing examples of lacquer-ware furniture, as well as undertaking private restoration work for the odd T&G customer who comes in with a down-at-heel piece.
Jazz Gaze started with us about a year ago having finished a fine art degree at Norwich University of the Arts and couldn’t quite believe her luck at finding Dave.
“I didn’t really know what lacquer and gilding was,” says Jazz, who met Dave through a family connection. He’d seen some of Jazz’s artwork and thought she’d be excellent and it turns out “she’s a natural”, says Dave
“It’s a different kind of art but that’s what’s fun about it and I’m learning every day. I just didn’t think I’d be lucky enough to get a job actually doing something so artistic,” explains Jazz.

Jazz painting the inside of a bureau
Jazz Gaze putting the finishing touches on a bureau that is being restored
Titchmarsh & Goodwin designs
Designs from the Titchmarsh & Goodwin archives

The process of lacquering  is a long and meticulous one that starts with an initial drawing. The Titchmarsh & Goodwin archive has many and Jazz has been adding to the collection since she started. The design is drawn onto tracing paper, then “pricked through”. The tracing paper is then overlaid onto the piece of furniture and dabbed with a pounce bag full of of French chalk. This transfers the design onto the furniture. The chalked outline is now gently scratched into the surface of the wood. Size – a kind of runny PVA – is applied, left to dry a little before leaf metal is applied with a brush. The design is then sealed with polish before the exquisite details are painted on in a contrasting colour – individual leaves are each painted by hand. The piece is further sealed with polish before it goes into our polishing shop.

 

Tree pricked through Titchmarsh & Goodwin
A design for a tree which has been "pricked through"
pounce bags which contain French chalk
A selection of pounce bags which contain French chalk
Design work for furniture
The image is scratched carefully onto the furniture
Gold sheets for size-covered furniture
Gold sheets ready to be applied to size-covered furniture
Gold Sheets for furniture
Gold Sheets for furniture
green lacquer
A close up of a Japanese bridge and tree, each leaf meticulously painted on by hand
A close up of a Japanese bridge and tree, each leaf meticulously painted on by hand
The side of the bureau that they are working on
The side of the bureau that they are working on

While this is the process for the sides and insides of furniture, the fronts get a bit more complicated go fully 3-dimensional with key features being highlighted and built up with layers of gesso, before being sanded and gilded.

If you want to come and see Jazz and Dave at work or commission a piece of our lacquerware, come and visit our workshops, which are open Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm. Jazz and Dave are in most days, but call in advance just to make sure. 

To view our current lacquered furniture range on our website please click here.

Details such as the jacket are built up before being gilded
Details such as the jacket are built up before being gilded
Lacquered cabinets
Two of Jazz and Dave's walnut and gilded and lacquered cabinets outside our polishing shop
Our finished walnut gilded and lacquered drinks cabinet
Our finished walnut gilded and lacquered drinks cabinet