FAIRFAX RESIDENT Jane Richardson-Mack
rose to the heights of her profession by breaking
a sheet of glass. “It was an accident,” the former
actress and chanteuse, now an accomplished
verre églomisé artist, says with a laugh.
Best described as the decorative art of back-painting and gilding clear glass, églomisé is almost
as old as glass itself. “There are even ancient
Roman precedents,” Richardson-Mack says.
She gravitated toward her craft soon after the
death of her first husband in 2003 when her
friend Victoria Weiss, a faux painter and mural-
ist, persuaded her to try painting. About seven
years ago, the pair followed English artist Fran-
ces Federer, who has written an authoritative
book about églomisé, to her workshop in Lon-
don to learn from her there. They learned that
églomisé was revived by 18th-century French
frame-maker Jean-Baptiste Glomy, whose name
is now indelibly linked to reverse painting. Also,
Richardson-Mack discovered that she loved it.
“I can’t handle computers but when you ask
me to start a painting with a highlight, and to
fill in the background last, I am a natural,” she
says, gleefully. “Drawing in reverse on glass is
disorienting, but I like to draw backwards, and
I don’t make a mistake.”
Today the two friends jointly produce verre
églomisé works under the rubric of Marin stu-
dio Églomisé-Atelier. But when they returned
to the Bay Area from London, they each set up
separate studios (which they retain today).
“For a time, I worked only with small 4-by-5-
inch pieces of glass,” Richardson-Mack recalls.
Then one day, right after she tried for some-
thing larger — two 3-foot-tall panels depicting
Above, left: A large gilded peacock, one of two panels that set Jane Richardson-Mack on the path to sandwiching several sheets of glass together
for more complex moodier effects; middle row: two églomisé panels with images of monkeys and toucans by Richardson-Mack; right: a silk, gold
leaf and back-painted glass panel from the Elegant Lift, an installation for the 2017 San Francisco Decorator Showcase by Eglomisé-Atelier. Facing
page: “The Return of Don Mono,” an original verre églomisé work that Richardson-Mack now also sells as a giclée print.