Applied Physics A

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 39–46 | Cite as

Colorando Auro: contribution to the understanding of a medieval recipe to colour gilded silver plates

  • A. Crabbé
  • M.-A. Languille
  • I. Vandendael
  • J. Hammons
  • M. G. Silly
  • G. Dewanckel
  • H. Terryn
  • H. J. M. Wouters


The colour of gildings can be modified by many artistic techniques. This article refers to the possibility of a specific chemical treatment to change the colour of gildings. The model samples—gilded silver plate, the mixture and the application of a medieval recipe based on ancient writings from Theophilius and Cellini have been described. We propose a strategy to identify the chemical processes involved in the change of colour of the metallic surface through the advanced study of these model samples. Synchrotron X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy were carried out both on the gilding with and without the application of the treatment with the aim to understand the chemical reactions occurring during the treatment.


Silver Plate Ancient Recipe SOLEIL Synchrotron Medieval Writing Fire Gilding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge Fausto Sirotti from the TEMPO beam line and Cristian Mocuta and Dominique Thiaudière from the DIFFABS beam line, at SOLEIL synchrotron. M.-A.L. would like to thank Loïc Bertrand for having initiated the collaboration between IRPA and IPANEMA. The research leading to these results has received funding from the Belgian Science Policy (SPP) and the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under CHARISMA Grant Agreement n. 228330. The IPANEMA platform is jointly developed by CNRS, MNHN, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and SOLEIL, and benefits from a CPER grant (MESR, Région Île-de- France).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Crabbé
    • 1
  • M.-A. Languille
    • 2
  • I. Vandendael
    • 3
  • J. Hammons
    • 3
  • M. G. Silly
    • 4
  • G. Dewanckel
    • 1
  • H. Terryn
    • 3
  • H. J. M. Wouters
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Royal du Patrimoine ArtistiqueBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.IPANEMA, USR 3461 CNRS/MCCSynchrotron SOLEILGif-sur-YvetteFrance
  3. 3.Research Group Electrochemical and Surface Engineering SURFVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Synchrotron SOLEILGif-sur-YvetteFrance

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