previous next


On marble and other substances which do not admit of being brought to a white heat, gilt is laid with glair of egg, and on wood by the aid of a glutinous composition,1 known as "leucophoron:" what this last is, and how it is prepared, we shall state on the appropriate occasion.2 The most convenient method for gilding copper would be to employ quicksilver, or, at all events, hydrargyros;3 but with reference to these substances, as we shall have occasion to say when describing the nature4 of them, methods of adulteration have been devised. To effect this mode of gilding, the copper is first well hammered, after which it is subjected to the action of fire, and then cooled with a mixture of salt, vinegar, and alum.5 It is then cleansed of all extraneous substances, it being known by its brightness when it has been sufficiently purified. This done, it is again heated by fire, in order to enable it, when thus prepared, with the aid of an amalgam of pumice, alum, and quicksilver, to receive the gold leaf when applied. Alum has the same property of purifying copper, that we have already6 mentioned as belonging to lead with reference to gold.

1 "Without entering into any research respecting the minerals employed for this cement, called 'leucophoron,' one may readily conceive that it must have been a ferruginous ochre, or kind of bole, which is still used as a ground. Gilding of this kind must have suffered from dampness, though many specimens of it are still preserved."—Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 294. Bohn's Edition.

2 B. xxxv. c. 17.

3 Literally, "fluid silver." "The first name here seems to signify native quicksilver, and the second that separated from the ore by an artificial process." Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 72.

4 In Chapters 32 and 41 of this Book.

5 As to the identity of the "alumen" of Pliny, see B. xxxv. c. 52.

6 In the preceding Chapter.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: