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Architectural Paint Research

Architectural paint research (APR) studies the evolution of painted decoration schemes in a building: how paint and colour were used to articulate architecture. This includes wall surfaces and architectural elements such as mouldings, panelling, skirting boards, metal railings, cornices, doors and windows.

Like wall painting conservation, it requires research in art and architectural history, with a detailed understanding of painting techniques and materials over time.

APR is usually commissioned to understand and recreate the decoration scheme of a particular historical period. Through the examination of the layers of surviving paint as evidence, APR may also greatly contribute to our knowledge of the structural development of a building.

For more information on architectural paint research in England, please refer to our Further reading list.

Kenwood House Entrance Hall and Wall Paintings - before restoration
© Historic England
The Entrance Hall, Kenwood House, London, c.1767-68. Before and after restoration.
The Entrance Hall, Kenwood House, London, c.1767-68. Top photograph shows the Entrance Hall as it used to look - repainted with the wrong colour scheme (i.e. different to the original design). After extensive archival research and paint analysis, the original Adam scheme was recreated (bottom photograph), using authentic pigments in a traditional white lead paint. © Historic England
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