Colour Services

Dec 9th, 2010 | | Colour Services | Conservation | National Trust | Portfolio | Comments Off


Patrick Baty carried out spectrophotometric work at Stourhead

The Stourton family, the Barons of Stourton, had lived in the Stourhead estate for 700 years when they sold it to Henry Hoare I, son of wealthy banker Sir Richard Hoare in 1717. The original manor house was demolished and a new house, one of the first of its kind, was designed by Colen Campbell and built by Nathaniel Ireson between 1720 and 1724. William Benson, Henry Hoare’s brother-in-law, was in part responsible for the building.1 Francis Cartwright, a master builder and architect, was also involved. He was established as a “competent provincial designer in the Palladian manner.”2 The house has been owned by the National Trust since 1946.3

This was an unusual project – a colour match, without seeing the surface being matched. The National Trust sent me spectrophotometric data on the colour of a wall in the house and asked me to produce a paint to match it. This was specially mixed by my company Papers and Paints.

Having fed the data into our own spectrophotometer I was able to obtain a spectral curve and begin the colour match. A paint was produced that had a DE of .40 (a unit of measurement which indicates how far away one colour is from another. A match is usually held to be something below .70).

An alternative would be to ask us to visit the site and carry out a colour survey. In that way we can take a series of measurements to enable paint to be matched for maintenance purposes or for a record to be made.

More recently we have measured the disparate off-white colours applied at various times to the ceiling of the Saloon and have identified the most appropriate colour for repainting.

1 He had also worked on Wilbury House.
2 Cartwright had also worked on Crichel House in the 1740s.
3 The architect Henry Flitcroft built three temples and a tower on the property. Flitcroft also worked on 5 Bloomsbury Square, the house now known as Pushkin House.

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