Gold leaf is required for gilding, in order to ornament different parts of buildings, more especially the internal fittings, such as the mouldings of the joinery or the decorations of the ceilings or walls.
It is classed as singles, doubles, or trebles, according to thickness, and sold in books, each containing 25 pieces, whose dimensions are 31/4 by 31/4 inches. They are placed between the paper leaves of the book, which are rubbed with red chalk to prevent the gold from adhering.
The book should be warmed before use, so as to make the leaves quite dry and easy to detach from one another.
There are several different tints of gold leaf, varying from deep orange red down to a pale silvery hue.
Foreign Gold Leaf is thinner than that made in England, and the area of the leaves is smaller.
Pale Leaf Gold is an alloy of silver and gold beaten into leaf.
Dutch Gold is copper leaf coloured yellow by the fumes of molten zinc. It is much cheaper than genuine gold leaf, and useful for large surfaces, where it can be protected by varnish. Without such protection it becomes discoloured.
Bessemer's Gold Paint is in the form of powder. It is mixed with a little transparent varnish, and laid on with a brush.
1 Slightly modified from those given in the Paperhanger, Painter, Gravner, and Decorator's Assistant.