It is really interesting to consider what colours would have originally been associated with the era in which your home was built. Over the next few weeks I will be looking at the colour palette used by any particular age, an ...
It is really interesting to consider what colours would have originally been associated with the era in which your home was built. Over the next few weeks I will be looking at the colour palette used by any particular age, and today it is the turn of the Victorians (1837-1901).
The period is characterised as one of relative peace, increased economic activity, “refined sensibilities” and national self-confidence. If you have been following the tv drama about the young Victoria’s life you will have a real sense of what was going on. Ideologically, the Victorian era witnessed resistance to the rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn towards romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and arts.
Due to the increase of mass production and, of course, a rapidly expanding middle class keen to keep up with the Jones’s, the demand for fashionable products rose. Most middle class families aspired to a lavish interior, especially in the public areas of hall, parlour and reception rooms. Oil based paints continued to be used for woodwork and metal in dark colours to mimic hardwoods (until around 1870 when white came into fashion with the Queen Anne style). Oil-based paints were prepared with white lead, linseed oil, turpentine and pigment, with the finish – the degree of sheen – being regulated by altering the ratio of oil and turpentine. Distemper, or size colour, was made from ground chalk, bound with a glue size made from animal bones, horns or skin, and tinted with a suitable pigment. It had many advantages: cheapness, the wide range of tints available in it and the speed and case of application. Its chief disadvantage, however, was that it was not particularly durable.
Walls were often painted with strong colours like reds and greens which did two things: provided a dramatic backdrop for all the decorative ornaments and gilded picture frames they loved and helped disguise the dirt caused by gas lighting and open fires. Notice in the image above that the ceiling rose is painted the same dark colour as the coving. The rose was there as a practical feature because it caught the dirt from the lights and could easily be repainted without having to do the whole ceiling.
Despite being the age of commerce and invention the Victorians had little more choice of colours than the Georgians before them and like the Georgians also enjoyed a lighter, brighter look too, especially in more private or family areas.
By the 1840s the use of restrained, secondary tints such as Buff, Lilac and Salmon was common, though paler tints of those and other strong colours were also used.
If you have a Victorian house and would like some advice about period colours you will find it at Sally Bourne Interiors, who is our partner this month in the Spot-it! competition. Sally stocks several specialist range of paints and also offers a design consultancy http://www.sallybourneinteriors.co.uk/c/18/Interior-Design
If you would like to win a voucher worth £150 to spend in this inspirational shop don’t forget to enter the competition – it’s so easy. Details here: https://www.prickettandellis.com/spot-it-2/