Engine Turning / Guilloché

Engine turning (or Guilloché) is a method of machine engraving precise, repeat straight line or geometrical patterns and designs onto a base metal – a process that has been used in metalwork since the late 18th century. Using a mechanical Rose Engine or ‘Decorative Lathe’, an unlimited variation of patterns could be created and then precisely engraved into these metals, giving an almost three-dimensional, decorative finish that catches and reflects the light beautifully off its surfaces.

Engine Turning work was often used to decorate the silver lids of the dressing case and vanity box fittings. Occasionally, this process was also used to enhance the interior brass fittings, as an alternative or accompaniment to hand engraving.

Antique Rose Engine used for Engine Turning/ Guilloché Work.

Antique Rose Engine used for Engine Turning/ Guilloché Work.

Examples of Antique Engine Turning/ Guilloché Designs.

Examples of Antique Engine Turning/ Guilloché Designs.

Engine Turning on a Silver-Gilt Cup from an Antique Asprey Dressing Case.

Engine Turning on a Silver-Gilt Cup from an Antique Asprey Dressing Case.

Antique Dressing Case in Burr Walnut with Silver-Gilt / Gold Fittings by Asprey & Sons.

Antique Dressing Case in Burr Walnut with Silver-Gilt / Gold Fittings by Asprey & Sons.

Engine Turned Silver Kettle and Drinking Set from a French Nécessaire de Voyage by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.

Engine Turned Silver Kettle and Drinking Set from a French Nécessaire de Voyage by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.

Antique Nécessaire de Voyage Dressing Case in Ebony with Floral Brass Inlay by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.

Antique Nécessaire de Voyage Dressing Case in Ebony with Floral Brass Inlay by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.

Engine Turning on a Bramah Lock Plate from an Asprey Dressing Case.

Engine Turning on a Bramah Lock Plate from an Asprey Dressing Case.

Engine Turning on an Asprey Maker's Plate and Hinge from an Antique Dressing Case.

Engine Turning on an Asprey Maker’s Plate and Hinge from an Antique Dressing Case.