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Old 16-11-10, 10:15
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Elaine Kirk Elaine Kirk is offline
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It is often assumed that the main task of an architectural paint researcher is to identify the original colours employed in an historic building. Whilst this can be established if sufficient evidence survives much much more information can often be obtained.
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While sampling in the 1705 house a workman brought me a lump of paint that he had prised off the external timber cornice. At first I thought that it was a piece of china, such was the weight and shape. However, it was immediately clear from the traces of the characteristic early eighteenth century red oxide primer at the bottom to the bright white final layers at the top that I was holding three hundred years of the buildings decorative history.
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The 71 schemes applied to the building


The house was built in 1705, the year that Queen Anne knighted Isaac Newton, the first scientist ever to receive the honour.

Taking a number of subsequent random dates we can see how the building was painted in:

1726, when Voltaire arrives in England, and Benjamin Franklin leaves for Philadelphia;

1752 - Britain adopts the Gregorian calendar, and we lose the days between the 3rd and 13th of September that year

1770 - Captain James Cook drops anchor in what he would name Botany Bay, and the crew of the Endeavour become the first recorded Europeans in Australia.

1800 - The Acts of Union is signed by George III, creating the United Kingdom the following year.

1830 - The Liverpool and Manchester Railway opens the first intercity rail service between the two cities, under steam power.

1865 - Isabella Beeton dies and W.B. Yeats is born

1900 - Winston Churchill is elected to Parliament for the first time

1939 - The Second World War begins

1975 - Margaret Thatcher becomes leader of the Conservative Party and Bill Gates founds the Microsoft Corporation

It appears that the building was last painted in 2005, the year in which the Provisional IRA issued a statement formally ordering an end to the armed campaign that it had been pursuing since 1969.

In my years as a paint researcher I have never encountered such a complete sequence of decorative schemes. Literally, history in the palm of ones hand.
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