Wimpole Estate, Hertfordshire

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Colour chart for the 13 historic schemes found on the frame of the main door

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.

What are the benefits of paint research for your project?

Benefits of undertaking a considered and well planned campaign of architectural paint research include:

Project management

  • By providing clarity at the beginning of a project, architectural paint research can allow planning and budgeting of conservation and restoration work
  • Identification of technical issues with paint, such as latent incompatibility, performance and toxicity
  • Contribution to long-term conservation management plan
  • Underpinning options for conservation/ restoration

Enriching the interpretation of your site

  • Enhancement of the recorded archaeology of a site
  • Establishment of the chronology of decorative schemes
  • Creation of a narrative of changes to the structure and related decorative schemes
  • Evaluation of how changing fashion, economy and use of a heritage asset has impacted on the choice, quality and condition of decoration
  • Interpretation of the significance of the schemes identified
  • Dating of both paint schemes and architectural changes