Congratulations to the conservation team on the Europa Nostra Award. The paint research was only a very modest element of this project, but enabled us to connect the social history of the tower to the physical archaeology.
Wimpole Estate, Hertfordshire
During December and January, we were busy working with the National Trust to assess and record the decorative history of the door joinery of the Gothic Folly at the Wimpole Estate. The aim of the assessment was to establish how the external joinery of the main tower had been painted from its construction in 1772 to the present day.
The work was challenging; not only was the site bitterly cold, but the main door is missing, and paint research revealed that the lower door has been stripped of early finishes.
Through assessment of archival documentation and technical assessment of the paints, we were able to establish 13 decorative schemes on the main door frame. The paints were very degraded, but careful analysis of pigments, cross section assessment of the paint samples and painstaking uncovering tests, layer by layer, allowed us to chart all of the remaining schemes.
You can read more about the results on the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate blog here.
A brief review of 2014
2014 was a very busy year, with many interesting and diverse projects. Here’s a quick review:
Heritage Cottage, Glamorgan
‘Heritage Cottage’, Cwmdare, is a typical 19th century miner’s cottage of the south Wales valleys. The cottage, which was built c.1854, was purchased by Cadw in 2012, and is a rare surviving example of an unmodernised terraced house. The cottage is to be used to identify cost-effective, energy-efficient measures that can be undertaken to promote sustainability and retain essential character of traditional buildings.
KMPR undertook architectural paint research, recording and paint consultancy to the interiors and exterior of Heritage Cottage. Architectural paint research focused not only on the physical decorative history of the cottage, but also contributed to the understanding of the social history of the 19th century miner’s home. Reporting included recommendations for conservation and restoration, as well as a review of environmental credentials of paint systems and implications for use in traditional buildings. Find out more about this complex project here http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/about/partnershipsandprojects/projectsfundedcadw/Heritage-Cottage/?lang=en
Audley End House, Essex
We have been on site throughout the year at this magnificent Jacobean Mansion. Our work for English Heritage has included analysis of coatings applied to external masonry in order to information conservation treatments, and pigment analysis and colour matching for decorative wallpapers from the interiors.
The Malt Cross, Nottingham
The Malt Cross, Nottingham, is one of the few surviving music halls in the UK. The gluelam roof of the Malt Cross makes this a unique building among music halls.
A detailed programme of research revealed that the interiors of the music hall were originally painted to resemble marble. This technique, which requires the finish to be built up over a series of washes and glazes, was applied extensively throughout the building. We worked with the client to devise an appropriate scheme of redecoration, inspired by the paint research findings, for this working live music venue and community hub. Find out more about this amazing building here http://heritage.maltcross.com/timeline
Tamworth Assembly Rooms
Tamworth Assembly Room was built by public subscription in the 19th century, and remains a key venue within the town of Tamworth today.
KMPR undertook architectural paint research to Assembly Rooms to inform a restoration/ redecoration strategy. Research included:
- Archive research
- Cross section analysis of samples to provide a detailed insight into the decorative history of the site
- In situ layering tests to reveal 19th century decoration
- Photographic and diagrammatic (to scale) Recording of historic decoration