Architectural Paint Research

We are often required to provide information on how an historic interior, exterior or object was decorated. To provide this information the process usually involves taking small paint samples from a surface to gain an understanding of the decorative history. The information gained can be used for adding to historical records for future reference and educational purposes. A decorative scheme can be identified and understood and this information can greatly help on how to go forward with any conservation and restoration works.

Historic decorative finishes such as marbling and wood graining can be identified and can be faithfully replicated using traditional materials and techniques, see our specialist decoration page.

We work closely with our clients to conserve and/or faithfully reinstate interiors, exteriors and objects. For examples of previous paint research projects and to see where using the analysis has proved successful see our ‘Previous Projects’ page.

Cross Section c.1920

Embedding paint samples in resin enables it to be viewed in cross section thus gaining an understanding of the decorative history.

Lapis Lazuli c.1330

Polarising light helps to identify pigments by showing their crystalline structure. Here the crystalline structure of lapis lazului can be clearly seen. This sample was taken taken from the carved stone pulpitum at Lincoln Cathedral, dated 1330-40.

Gold Dust c.2010

A microscopic image of gold dust.


Microscopic ultramarine.

Cross Section c.1613

The samples shows the decorative history of a 1613 chimneypiece. The uppermost vermilion layer is charred. This layer was the last time it was decorated and the burnt paint layer was a result of a WWII incendiary bomb. Previous layers show a consistent hisory of vermilion and gold leaf.

Cobalt Green

Microscopic cobalt Green.