September 6th 2022


Paint analysis results and an assessment of the historic paint schemes used in parts of the interior at the Victoria Building

The scope of the report was set out by the client’s architect, who has asked for a survey of existing paint finishes at the Victoria Building, Blackburn, to establish the build-up of different paint types and colours within early decorative scheme(s) within key spaces, including the main entrance lobby and staircase and the Head’s office/study. Specifically, it has been requested that samples are taken from the Main staircase, at the main entrance floor and second floor levels, including the Skirting, Dado rail, Column capitals, the Boss on an archway (painted gold), Walls, and Ceiling. In addition, that samples are taken from the Skirting, Dado rail, archway Capitals, Walls, and the Ceiling, within the main entrance lobby. Finally, samples have also been requested from the Headmaster’s Study.

The College of Technology and Design, Blakey Moor, Blackburn College’s Technical School, which became known as the Victoria building, was opened in 1889 but not fully completed until 1894. The main colours found in each area are detailed below, but there are some common themes that we can draw out. Stone colours, a common theme in the late 18th century to compliment interior architectural detailing, [1] [2] are used again here much later as they formed an appropriate accompaniment to the northern renaissance architecture with all its architectural elements, with interior pilasters, blind arches, freezes, and keystones set above. These stone colours were derived from umbers, ochres, sienna’s, and red oxides, all readily available at this date.[3] In the entrance lobby they were complimented with Cobalt blue and artificial Ultramarine,[4] [5], with the use of cobalt persisting into 1950’s,[6]  and some greens and blues also re-emerged here, perhaps in the 1920’s and 30’s.

[1] J. Badeslade, James Gandon, J. Rocque, John Woolfe, Vitruvius Britannicus. Second Series by Colen, Second Series by Colen (New York: Dover Publications Inc., 2009).
[2] IAN CHRISTOPHER BRISTOW, ‘INTERIOR HOUSE-PAINTING FROM THE RESTORATION TO THE REGENCY  in Two Volumes.’ (York, University of York Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, 1983), 578.
[3] Walter Pearce, Painting and Decorating (London: Chas Griffin & Co. Ltd., 1898), 84–85.
[4] Ian C. Bristow, Interior House-Painting Colours and Technology 1615-1840 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996), 21.
[5] Pearce, Painting and Decorating, 274.
[6] L.F.J. Tubb, Painting and Decorating Intermediate, first, Newnes Craftsmen’s Series (George Newnes Limited, 1951), 87.

September 6th 2022

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