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Saint Jerome statue
MFA# 1976.841


Currently, the term 'ormolu' is used for any golden color alloy made of Brass or Bronze. In this interpretation, ormolu is often finished with a toned Varnish and used in imitation of gilded metal. Historically, ormolu is a brass or bronze piece that has been finished with Gold leaf applied by Fire gilding. In either case, ormolu is used for decorating mounts and ornaments on furniture, candlesticks, chandeliers, architectural molding, and jewelry.

Synonyms and Related Terms

bronze doré; gilt bronze; mosaic gold (often incorrectly used as synonym)

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p.656
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981

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