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8 March 2024

Glass Design Inspiration: Verre Églomisé

Verre Églomisé is a decorative glass working technique that traditionally involves the application of gold leaf onto glass (gilding) using a gelatine-based adhesive. The technique is a relatively simple process whereby the design is created by distressing the metal leaf, and the panel is then back painted with a plain colour to seal. Whilst Verre Églomisé dates back to pre-Roman times, it was popularised by French decorator Jean-Baptiste Glomy (1711–1786) in the 18th century – and it is from him that the name derives (É-glom-isé).

In a modern sense, the term Verre Églomisé has expanded in scope.  It is now used to describe almost all processes that involve a combination of painting and silvering or gilding (both leaf and spray-coating) onto glass, no matter how elaborate.  It has also become a common technique to first etch a design into glass prior to painting and gilding/silvering.  The advantages of etching the glass first are that it both provides greater design depth and creates a pattern outline for the painter to follow.

Modern Verre Églomisé design variations and options
This first sample is close to what would traditionally be considered Verre Églomisé. Gold leaf has been applied to the glass and distressed, then a plain colour (black) has been used as a backing.  The one modern addition to this process is the use of a stencil which has allowed the clean and crisp lines to be realised within the design.
Verre ÉglomiséThis second version of the design is in effect in reverse as the gilding has been completed over the stencil to create a linear pattern in gold which is then back-painted.  Multiple shades, painted in layers create a mottled, almost distressed, look in the paint which mimics the distressed gold leaf of the original sample.
Verre ÉglomiséFor this final variation of the design, the geometric lines are painted in white and then selected areas are gilded before being back-painted.  Again, a mixture of gilding and back-painting have been used but this design stands apart due to the design taking on a created emphasis on painting rather than gilding.

Verre ÉglomiséThe peacock design shown above is a good example of what is commonly described as Verre Églomisé in the 21st century.  The design is created by painting onto the rear face of a glass panel before gold leaf is applied behind. For the painted design, as it is on the reverse face of the glass this must be completed in the reverse order to a normal painting (the top layer of colour and design is the first to the painted).

Verre ÉglomiséThis sample is combining etching, painting, and silvering but again is sometimes referred to as Verre Églomisé.  The geometric design is etched into the glass so that it is raised up within the thickness of the panel. These lines are then painted in gold and silver before the whole panel has been spray silvered.

Finally, this design does not involve any gilding or silvering at all – so is not Verre Églomisé. However, it is worth showcasing as an option as once the design has been etched it is infilled with enamel paints which are not reflective but provide a slight shine.  This is a good option for clients who like the style of Verre Églomisé but who have to limit the number of reflective surfaces.

Daedalian Glass Studios capabilities

The above decorative glass pieces featured have all been designed and manufactured at our studios in Lancashire, England.  With an in-house design team, hand-held and automated sandblasters, and a purpose-built painting and silvering studio – Daedalian Glass Studios are able to create Verre Églomisé panels completely bespoke to our clients’ needs and wants (whether traditional or modern Verre Églomisé).

If you would like to discuss a design brief with our team, please contact or call +44 (0)1253 702 531 to talk through your ideas.  Our team are always happy to help, even if you just require a concept-stage exploratory chat around design feasibility and pricing.