Colour Ranges

Dec 23rd, 2011 | | Colour Ranges | 2 Comments

Ministry of Works Colour Schemes

Ministry of Works Colour Schemes

MINISTRY OF WORKS COLOUR SCHEMES (Official Colour Card No. 1 1952)*

This little aid to the decoration of Ministry of Works offices of the early 1950s really is little, measuring only 16.5cm x 6.5cm. However, as with so many of the official colour standards of the time it is packed with common sense tips and conveys a strong sense of the austerity of the years immediately after the Second World War.

“These short term standards are intended only for the usual run of office accommodation where it is expected that pre-war and war-time types of furniture, fittings and floor coverings will remain in use for some considerable time. Offices outside this range of accommodation must receive special consideration.”

The rest of this essay has been removed after six years. You can now read more about this in The Anatomy of Colour, published by Thames & Hudson and available from John Sandoe (Books).

For those feeling more adventurous other colours in the small range offered in BS 1572: 1949 Colours for Flat Finishes for Wall Decoration can be seen HERE. The range was broadened considerably with the introduction of the Archrome (Munsell) Colour Range in 1953 and the BS 2660: 1955 Colours for Building and Decorative Paints two years later.

Current Availability of Colours
As with almost all the colours shown on this site those shown here can be mixed into conventional modern paint by Papers and Paints Ltd

Colours and associated data from BS 1572: 1949 and BS381WD: 1945 are reproduced by permission of BSI.

* The edition illustrated was the revised one of 1954.

Papers and Paints can be found here:

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Comments (2)

Hannah RenierNo Gravatar » 15. Mar, 2012

Thanks for terrific blog. Interested to find that the post-war cream – I HAD to have it a few years ago, for my kitchen, and settled on Dorset Cream gloss from F&B – is in fact French Beige. A friend called it ‘beige’ and I was quite disconcerted. Turns out he was right all along. Colours are like smells; they take you back to another time, when every staircase had glistening brown anagalypta up to the dado rail…

PatrickNo Gravatar » 19. Mar, 2012

Thank you. You’re quite right. One can evoke so much with colour.