The recent analysis of the original decorative schemes of London’s Cafe Royal proved the worth of my many years specialist-book-collecting. It is always good to be able to demonstrate to my long-suffering wife that the 1,400 works on architecture, paint and colour that fill so many shelves in the house are truly esential to my work. However it is even better to be able to take one of these precious volumes to a site meeting to illustrate several of the colours and finishes found during the analysis.
My post on Thomas Parsons’ Tint Book of Historical Colours had reminded me of the wonderful books published by that firm in the early years of the twentieth century, several of which I own. Certainly one of the most useful, when looking at painted schemes of the 1930s is Parsons’ Decorative Finishes.
My edition is undated, although the colours within suggest the 1930s. The address on the cover is 315-317 Oxford Street, which they left on the outbreak of War in 1939.
During a series of posts I intend to show pages from this work and to use them to illustrate not only a typical palette of colours of the 1930s, but also to look at some of the techniques used in decoration at that time. I hope to touch on the difference between Enamel and Gloss paints; Water Paints and Distemper; Scumbling and Graining and look at funnies such as Anti-Condensation and Bituminous paints. It will also allow me to make a number of much-needed comments concerning modern paint.
The colours that will be shown are all available (at short notice) from my colleagues at Papers and Paints. Until now there has not been a wide source of accurate paint colours from the 1930s.
The range of paints being produced was remarkable, with eight different forms of gloss or semi-gloss alone. Many of these were also produced in “Outside Quality” as well. The following list gives an indication of the variety on offer:
As I write up the various sections links will be provided here:
a) Imitation Stone Paint;
b) Permanent Greens;
c) Gloss Enamel Finishes;
d) Gloss Finishes;
e) Antimonic Paint;
f) Concrete Floor Paint;
g) Flat Finishes;
h) Water Paint;
i) Scumble Glaze;
k) Bituminous Paints;
l) Metallic Paints;
m) Plastic Paints, and
n) Cellulose Lacquer.
1930s Paint Colours
Should anyone want to use any of the paint colours shown on these colour cards Papers and Paints will be able to match them in most conventional finishes. They also have a range of 1930s colours.
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