Eglomisé, noun


Eglomisé refers to painting on glass, and it's often used when describing a clock face, like the one shown here: a Federal carved giltwood mahogany and eglomisé banjo clock, made in Boston around 1815. The clock was in Freeman's American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts Auction, held Nov. 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pa., where it had a pre-sale estimate of $800-$1,200.  Eglomisé is the past participle of the French verb eglomiser, meaning to decorate a glass. Webster's defines eglomisé  as “made of glass, on the back of which is a painted a picture that shows through.”

To achieve an eglomisé (or verre eglomisé) effect, the metal is fixed using a gelatin adhesive, which results in a mirror-like, reflective finish in which designs are then engraved. The metal leaf may be applied using oil-based adhesives (a goldish varnish) to achieve a matte finish. The gilding may also be combined with reverse painting on glass. The technique dates back to the pre-Roman eras, but its name is derived from 18th-century French decorator and art-dealer Jean-Baptiste Glomy (1711–1786), who utilized the eglomisé process and is credited with its popular revival.