Shellac – an indispensable varnish for gilders
Shellac may be the oldest varnish that has been used by people. It is renowned among music-lovers thanks to old shellac records. Today, this natural varnish has secured a firm footing for itself in the food and cosmetics industry.
From insect to a firm footing in the world of gilding
This natural product is produced by the insect “Laccifer Lacca”, which sucks up the sap of host plants before excreting a secretion of dye and resin. This product, known as shellac, is harvested and subject to a cleaning process. Soluble in alcohol, this varnish is often used by gilders and church painters to seal surfaces, as a glossy base for oil gilding, or as a final varnish.
To this day, it is impossible to imagine gilding without this natural product, which is used to seal surfaces and as a coating to protect gold, silver or metal leaf.
You can read more about the storage and preparation of shellac here.