Guilloché Part 1

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Guilloché Part 1

Postby koimaster » February 1st 2019, 9:55am


Guilloché, also referred to as engine turning, is work produced on a rose engine or straight-line engine and refers to a method of mechanical engraving often used on metal, glass, clay, bone, or wood. The rose engine was developed in the 16th century, but found wide-scale popularity in the early 19th century when Abraham-Louis Breguet applied the craft to augment his watch dials, cases, and movements; many believe it reached its apex with the work of Russian goldsmith to the Tzar Peter Carl Fabergé.

The rose engine is best recognized for its role in the decoration of metal objects of art such as watches, clocks, and snuff boxes, but was also used widely in other popular media, ranging from decorative ivories to pottery, wooden artifacts, glass molds, the printing of stamps and stock certificates, and plastic injection moldings. The patterns produced can be applied directly to the surface of an object or through transfer by use of a mold or other method.

Our earliest printed record of engine turning appeared in a book from 1678 entitled Fe’libien’s Des Principes de l’Architecture. It later reappeared in 1683 in Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises: Or, the Doctrine of Handy-Works.

A Box in the form of a rose, with a miniature portrait of Anne of Cleves, ca. 1539, can be seen in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, as seen in figure 1, which dates engine turning a century prior to these publications.


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