HISTORY BY DESIGN

PROCEDURE

, September 30, 2015 -

Architectural Paint Research is the analysis of consecutive paint layers in a building, with the aim to identify original decoration layers and subsequent colour schemes of an interior (element) or a building façade. It is often carried out to determine an appropriate (historical) colour scheme for a repainting campaign. It consists of on-site small-scale excavation work, scientific analysis of paint samples and archival investigation.

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STRATIGRAPHY

Architectural Paint Research is mostly carried out on site. In multiple well-chosen locations in the room and on specific interior elements, paint layers are carefully uncovered one-by-one to reveal the paint and colour history. This so-called ‘stratigraphy’ is key to a good understanding of the visual appearance and surface quality of historic paint layers (colour, texture and sheen), and serves as a basis for microscopic analysis, for which discreet paint samples will be collected.

MICROSCOPIC ANALYSIS

Microscopic analysis of paint samples will provide further information about the build-up and composition of historical paint schemes. Sometimes a paint layer can be dated based on the presence of certain pigments. We can also get an idea of the extent to which paint layers have aged (faded or darkened) or have been abraded during past re-painting campaigns.

DECORATIVE HISTORY

Together these two research techniques provide insight about the paint history in general, and more specifically about the technical and visual aspects of individual paint layers. Archival and documentary investigation can often generate further information and assist in completing the decorative history.

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