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people I specialist

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Roqer Hunt visits Patrick Baty, proprietor of Papers and Paints, which this
year is celebrating 50 years of innovative paint matching and supply

'l remember sitting on the counter at Papers and Today, the knowledge at the heart of Papers and any, other companies have the ability to create a
Paints in 1960, aged fou;'recalls Patrick Baty, whose Paints spills out across the shop's counter in hand- colour that remains authentic under all lighting con-
father Robert, founded the specialist paint company painted colour cards. A historical range reflects ditions. The fragments of original colour brought in
in September of that year. Now, with Patrick and his colours from the applied arts. In Scotland, Patrick by customers for matching need be no bigger than a
wife, Alex, as its owners, this remarkable business is discovered a set of painters'sample cards dating thumbnail, and range f rom chips of plaster to cricket
celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in the same shop from 1807 and, over a yea4 he colour-matched each balls - even the coverof
Ihe Como/efePeeraoe. New
in Park Walk, SW10, just off Fulham Road. colours are constantly added to the
Using money borrowed f rom an uncle, thousands already recorded on a vast
Robert Baty and his then business part- database that includes authentic
ner, Bill Ruttei opened Papersand Paints wartime camouf lage colours, a palette
in response to the growing trend for reflecting virtually all the regions of
home improvement. Their flyer, distrib- France, and a red oxide hue matching the
uted to houses nearby, offered'personal walls of the Forbidden City.
advice on technical problems and help Others have seen the value of such
and suggestions on colour schemes'. colours. Papers and Paints has been
Robert was one of the first retailers in employed by companies such as Dulux
the country to adopt the Robbialac and The Little Greene Paint CompanV in
Colorizer svstem. which offered a few conjunction with English Heritage, as
hundred additional colours to the British consultants in the development of new
Standard range, but the shop s customers ranges, and its expert advice is sought by
wanted more. Papers and Paints devel- architects, film-set designers, historians
oped a reputation as a colour specialist and the royal household - in 2OO7 the
and people f locked to the shop with any- business was granted a royal warrant.
thing from clothing to furniture - even Much of Patrick's consultancy work in-
pub signs - seeking paints to match. volves sampling existing paint layers on
Although Patrick would visit his father old buildings so that their history can be
frequentlV at Park Walk, he had no inten- understood. He removes chips of paint
tion initially of going into the business. for detailed analysis and uses a series of
Instead, he became a soldier but his microscopesto studythe cross section of
'fairly f ull military career' ended abruptly oaint lavers to determine the various
when he disagreed with his commanding paint schemes that have been used.
officer over a posting. 'l resigned my Papers and Paints has been involved
commission on the spot and found my- in projects in the UK and abroad, ranging
self in civilian life with no training and no from the Metrooolitan Museum of Art in
preparation,' he explains.'The only thing New York to Queen Charlotte's Cottage
I had knowledge of was British art from at Kew. Here, the company produced
the late nineteenth and earlv twentieth specially matched paint forthe entrance
centuries, because my great- J' '. ''.., : '"; :. i -.' . +' " hall andstaircasewhile,inthe
grandfather was the artist Rob- YE:?:, p:1-.','t t :r ,
Tnt,:i . -a printroom,patrickmixedanine-
I i ! l: teenth-century green verditer
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ert Bevan.'
Following a brief spell with
?:rt{l* il{.: i.i= I iri;:;.:..- colour. At Brunel's Roval

Bond Street art deale[ and after running a picture- by hand to produqe a traditional range of shades Albert Bridge over the River Tamal he climbed the
framing business at the back of the shop, Patrick from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. structure at 1.30am to take paint samples while the
inevitably became increasingly involved with Papers Inevitably, there has been investment in techno- railway line below was closed.'l see myself as an
and Paints and, eventually, he took over the business logy. With colour-matching previously done purely archaeologist,' he says, 'but the thrill of being on top
when his father retired in 1990. Patrick's burgeoning by eye, in 1994the company purchased a spectro- of that bridge, l85 feet above the rive4 took me back
enthusiasm for colour and paint coincided with the photometer to aid the process. Even so, creating an to my days as a military f ree-fall parachutist'I
boom in paint effects and he was asked to help edit exact match can take up to seven days because the Papers and Paints: O2O-7352 8626; www.papers-
Jocasta lnnes's b ook, Paint Magic. He then embarked colour has to dry completely before evaluation. I Queen Charlotte's Cottage and Kew
on a research degree focusing on the paints and ma- Patrick likens the process to naval gunnery: 'You aim Palace are cared for by conservation charity Historic
terials used by eighteenth-century house painters. around the colour until you get a direct hit.' Few if Royal Palaces. For information, visit


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OPPOSITE Patrick Baty is shown in

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Queen Charlotte's Cottage at Kew'
THIS PAGE Hand-painted colour
tiles are stacked in the shop (top
left). Samples are taken of each
order (top centre). Patrick works on
the spectrophotometer (top right).

Paint chips are embedded in resin
blocks (below left) and examined
under microscopes (far lett and
below). A colour-mixing machine is
used to create the paints (left). A
Polaroid ofa set of18O7 painters'
sample cards (right). The business is
based in the Park Walk shop (below
right). Paint cans (bottom left).
Patrick mixed a nineteenth-century
green verditer for Queen Charlotte's
Cottage (bottom centre and right)


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