The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts


Reverse glass sign painting


The making of signs by painting and applying metal leaf to the reverse of glass panes. See also brilliant cutting.


Status Endangered
Craft category Glass
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised
Origin in the UK 19th century
Current no. of professionals (main income) 6-10
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Around 10
Current total no. of leisure makers
Around 51-100
Minimum no. of craftspeople required





  • French embossing (most endangered)
  • Acid etching (most endangered)
  • Brilliant cutting (critically endangered)
  • Water gilding
  • Silvering
  • Angel gilding
  • Verre églomisé
  • Graining (related to marbling)


Local forms






Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • The craft is labour intensive which puts people off learning it. It takes dedication and a lot of time to hone your skills.
  • The paints aren’t as good as they used to be which is becoming an issue.
  • The high cost of the materials and labour compared to the low cost and high speed of computer designed vinyl graphics reduces the number of clients willing to commission work.


Support organisations



Craftspeople currently known


Other information