Peak Period of French Using of Bronzing Technology: The Imperial Period
Generally speaking, the copper brackets used on furniture during the French Empire are by far the best in the history of decorative art. Let us now discuss the reasons.
Before the imperial period, craftsmen usually only covered the fittings with a layer of mercury and gold amalgam. As mentioned earlier, once the mercury evaporates at high temperatures, some parts of the copper fittings will lack bronzing, and then the craftsmen will make the necessary modifications. However, during the imperial period, due to Napoleon's character, he required that the imperial style must be shiny gold, so craftsmen could use up to three consecutive layers of amalgam on the copper brackets of the furniture. This process leads to the accumulation of the gold layer, which alternately displays the gold and polished parts or the dark parts left behind after gold plating, resulting in a huge visual difference. Therefore, some copper parts must be bronzed 2 to 3 times to reduce the color difference.
In addition, another reason why they are so shining is that they are less worn, because the gilding in the imperial era was much later than the gilding in the 17th and 18th centuries. Judging from the mass-produced items for the less affluent segments of society, bronzing consisting of only a layer of mercury and gold simply cannot withstand a century of wear and tear. In this way, it is easy to distinguish them from other more important and magnificent objects.
In the rooms of the famous CIGA chain hotel in Italy, there are different imperial period furniture. According to the hotel staff, the original copper brackets showed only a few traces of bronzing when they were purchased. Later, at the request of the person in charge of the hotel, all these brackets were gilded again, and they became like this.
As well as that, the most authoritative experts in the field of copper accessories insist that if the gold foil is replaced in the correct way and tinned with the specific ingredients and wax used in the first production, it is almost impossible to accurately distinguish them.
In the next blog, I will finally explain some knowledge about the Regency period furniture.