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.
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.
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.
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.
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.