Parcel Gilding

Lately we’ve been doing more with parcel gilding, which is gilding just part of a frame. A simple example is this frame for Ellen Howard‘s painting “Just Blooming,” an 8″ x 8″ oil on board that’s part of our show of small works “Little Windows” that just opened this week. The stained quartersawn white oak frame is a simple flat mitered profile with a carved rounded sight edge. Instead of fitting a separate gilt slip into the rabbet to create a gold line, we parcel gilt the carved sight edge element.

Ellen Howard painting, "Just Blooming"

Ellen Howard, “Just Blooming,” 2020. Oil, 8″ x 8″.

When we come up with a new design idea, we consider the very simplest version of it for samples. In this case, the first step was this set of chamfered mitered frames, No. 16‘s, with a narrow parcel gilt chamfer at the sight edge. It creates something like the effect of the narrow gilt liner or slip we so often use, but is more economical.

We also look forward to exploring the decorative possibilities of parcel gilding. This carved walnut frame for Karima Cammell’s egg tempera painting, “Valentina Sa’lda Brown, Cloak of Invisibility,” 10″ x 8″, is a little bit more complex example. (More of Karima’s work here, here, here, and here.)

Below is a ready-made 8″ x 10″ we batched with the frame on Ellen Howard’s painting at the top of the post. It’s available from our new online shop,

Parcel gilt picture frame

No. 1.4 CV Parcel Gilt—1-3/4″ in stained quartersawn white oak


Finally, another 8 x 10 walnut frame in a 2″ profile—


These are all in 23 kt gold, but of course we can use other colors of gold, including pale.

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