OR many houses, painted decoration


is the dominant element of the
interior. Paint can survive inside for centuries, although most colour schemes have changed with fashion (external paintwork exposed to the elerrents generally 'With has a life of only about 10 years). the recent revival ofinterest in historical colours, many owners are keen to redecorate to some degree ofauthenticity, but the array of 'traditional' paint ranges on the market can be bewildering, and much ofthe information and advice on offer is misleading. The paint expert Patrick Baty offers sound advice on paints and finishes, and has dispelled many myths about historical paint and colours. A great-grandson of the artist/colourists Stanislawa de Karlowska and Robert Bevan, he also provides a con-

sultancy on historical decoration, gives technical guidance and runs a colourmatching service from his London shop,
Papers and Paints. Founded by his father in 1960, the shop was granted a Royal.Warrant

earlier this year. It sells


huge range


colours, many ofwhich are traditional ones matched with modern materials. ''We also carry out colour surveys using a spectrophotometer to "measure" existing paint colours, so that they can be matched
seamlessly when elements of a building are repainted,' he says, citing recent work on John Fowler's 1970s scheme in the Great Hail at Syon Park and a number of London
The ultimate colour guide: Patrick Baty analyses historic paintwork and creates colours to match



clubs as examples. ''W'e currently have hundreds ofthousands ofcolours on our database.' He is often asked to reproduce obsolete colours, and has developed his own ranges, such as Traditional Colours, partly based on a set of1807 hand-painted colour cards, and Historical Coiours, reproducing colours found in applied arts such as
porcelain and tapestry. He has also devised palettes for Dulux and English Heritage. As a leading consultant on painted deco-

ration, Mr Baty has been involved with an impressive range ofhistoric buildings;
fiom palaces and cathedrals to

estates. His expertise in every aspect of decorative colour combines forensic analysis with research-based knowledge ofthe methods and materials ofhousepainters, the development ofpaint and pigments and the history ofarchitecture and decorative taste. '-When dealing with the redecoration of a historic buiiding, there are three principal approaches that might be considered,' he says. 'The most labour intensive is the anaiytical approach, whereby we investigate the nurrber, sequence, date and composition ofthe paint layers in a scientific process involving microscopic and chemical techniques, in order to determine how

practical information acquired through analysis of other simiiar buildings. 'This more flexible approach allows for a wider palette ofcolours and finishes to be used,
introducing an element ofsubjective taste.' The third, free way'requires no specialist knowledge and can be carried out by most interior designers'. Many owners opt for a combination of the latter two. 'It's not
aiways necessary to be tied to the past; what's

important is to obtain accurate information and to be honest about the approach. The
key thing is not to claim that a room has been

restored when



only been decorated.'


about the aim of the project O Working with the limited palette of colours available in a particular period reduces the risk of going wrong I Be wary of paint products and colours
Be clear

room once looked.' Mr Baty emphasises that hisjob is to make an accurate historical record, from which informed decisions can be made. 'Ijniess a buildine is of outstanda

Patrick Baty, Papers and


0-7 3 5 2

8 62 6


www.p apers -paints.


labelled as Traditional or Historical. Always
seek more information about their orierns

ing significance and being presented to the public, it is not usually relevant to carry out an archaeologically exact recreation.' Generaliy more appropriate in a domestic context is the less academic hypothetical approach, on which Mr Baty also gives guidance. Here, an appropriate decorative scheme is devised, based on historical and

C olin Mitchell- Ro s e, E dinb urgh :

0131-332 2755 Richard lreland, London:

020-8568 5978 Lisa Oestreicher, Tisbury, Wiltshire : 0 1747 87 17 17 ; www.historicpaint, com


MARCH 7,2007

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