National trust heritage paint colours -
Manufacturers and Suppliers of Traditional Paints and Lime Mortars
Established in 1989, Rose of Jericho is a leading manufacturer and supplier of materials used for the conservation, repair and decoration of traditional and historic buildings. We are fully familiar with the range of issues surrounding the appropriate treatment of older buildings and can advise on, and provide, materials tailored to the needs of individual projects. We undertake materials analysis and consultancy and hold a library of British aggregates.
We manufacture a range of traditional limewash and distemper paints, slake lime and mature lime putty, prepare ready-mixed mortars and plasters and produce graded stone-dusts and various specialist ingredients. All materials are suitable for use in traditional and historic buildings and most are environmentally friendly.
Our traditional paint colours are also available in modern paint types suitable for use in more recent buildings, with artist quality powder pigments used in all paints. We are skilled colourmen and can match most traditional and historic colours, enabling us to provide a colour matching service regularly utilised by many heritage bodies including the National Trust.
Our clients include The Royal Household, Historic Royal Palaces, Historic England, many Cathedrals, the Landmark and various heritage Trusts, but the majority of our customers live in, and love, their cottages, townhouses, farmhouses and manor houses throughout the UK.
In 2020 we have supplied pointing mortars and graded aggregates for the City of London Roman wall and Salisbury Cathedral, lime plasters to the Palace of Westminster and Drury Lane. Our distemper paint can be seen at Seaton Delaval, Castle Drogo and in Granada Old Town; our limewash at Queen's Chapel, St James and our sheltercoat at Canterbury Cathedral. We have conducted analysis for the Longleat Estate and Whitehall Palace and are currently testing archaeological samples from the mediaeval cloister at Exeter Cathedral.
Our new hand painted C11 colour chart can be requested here.
COVID-19 UPDATE: We continue to be fully operational. Orders can be placed by telephone and will be dispatched by post or can be collected from the gates only. No visitors will be allowed on site without prior appointment.
Heritage: a licence to paint money?
In the old days, when you moved into a new home you simply slapped a coat of magnolia on the walls while you waited to decide what colours you really wanted. If only it were still that simple. These days, magnolia comes in 157 varieties and everyone from Kelly Hoppen to The Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tate Gallery is cashing in on the market for designer paints in fashionable neutral shades.
The latest company to cash in on the trend is Crown Trade which has produced a range of colours based on 200 years of interior design from Palladio to Fifties sketchbook via gothic revival and art deco. Inspired by the Royal Institute of Architects' drawings collection, Crown is no doubt hoping its paints will rival the success of those produced by the up-Farrow & Ball, based on the colours used in historic properties owned by the National Trust. In the snootier parts of London, having Farrow & Ball on your walls increases the value of a property, a fact not missed by estate agents who frequently mention it in a house's details.
So choosing a simple cream for your walls now means you also have to take into account the age of your house, your desire for authenticity and perhaps even your favourite charity or art gallery. Then you are free to pick from a selection of neutrals including Morning Fleece or Sailcloth (Tate), Yellow Drab and Stone Ochre (V&A) or Old and New White (National Trust). Plus Regency one, two, six, seven and 11 (RIBA). All of which are , well, magnolia actually. The paint market is huge in the UK, and growing every year, which means these partnerships are unlikely to stop soon. Last year Britons splashed 83.1m litres of paint on their walls, up 2 per cent on the year before, at a cost of £144m. Sales of the V&A paint have helped contribute part of the £10m raised by the trading arm of the museum over the past eight years, allowing it to increase its collections. The Tate also ploughs the money it makes from the sale of its paint and wallpaper – produced with B&Q – back into the museums. This enables it to buy more paint, admittedly of a variety that has been more artistically applied on canvas.
Crown has based its range of paints on the RIBA's collection of 600,000 original architectural drawings, including those by Inigo Jones and Robert Adams for their grand country house schemes. The extensive collection, which also includes designs for textiles ceramics and furniture, is being packed, to be moved from the RIBA to the Victoria & Albert Museum's Henry Cole Wing, where a small quantity will be displayed from next year. The colours Crown selected have been faithfully reproduced giving what they call complete "historical authenticity". Which means you can now decorate your three-bed semi in exactly the same colours Pugin used in the Palace of Westminster. And, happily, the paint is somewhat cheaper than the wallpaper the Lord Chancellor famously used.
Judy Smith, the Crown colourist who helped design the RIBA Drawings Collection range, said there was a growing trend for historically accurate interior design. "People are much more knowledgeable about their houses these days and they don't mind spending a bit extra on premium paints to recreate the original look. But although these colours were often designed for large houses, they can work well in smaller modern spaces, if you choose the shade carefully."
The Crown paints are also washable, a key factor in Smith's design brief. "Some of the other heritage paints, can wear off when you try toclean them because the manufacturers used authentic production methods to reproduce authentic colours. We used modern technology which allowed us to get completely accurate colours but still let them be wiped down if there are dirty marks."
And so to the burning question. You can return your house to its original decorative splendour but are these paints any good? They are certainly more expensive. The Crown/RIBA range is specifically designed for use by professionals and can be obtained only from a Crown Trade paint centre. It is, as one professional put it: "For people who wouldn't be seen dead with a paintbrush in their hand, but who have the money to ring someone up to come round and do it for them."
A 2.5 litre tin of RIBA paint will set you back £21, compared with £8.99 for the same-sized tin of Dulux magnolia. The V&A's emulsion retails at £19.99 for 2.5 litres and the Tate range costs £15.98 at B&Q. A recent Which? consumer report into a variety of emulsions found that in many cases you are paying purely for the privilege of having colours that might not be available in the more commercial ranges.
"Distinctive colours might be your main concern," the report said. "But our tests show this is all you'll be paying the extra for; their quality and finish was no better than any of the standard emulsion paints."
Jinanne Linley, a member of the Echo Design Agency, who has worked extensively with paints urges caution with the heritage colours. "A lot of the colours can be too strong and even a bit twee," she said. "You have to remember that when they were designed they were not for use in small rooms with electric light. I prefer the more subtle palettes that have been developed with technology that wasn't available in the 19th century. Some of them, such as Farrow & Ball, are very good quality if you can find the right colour, although I have had problems with a few of the designer ranges. You need to be aware that just because you are paying more money you will not necessarily get better paint. With designer paints you will often pay for the name. Dulux and Leyland do very good ranges at much lower prices."
So what is the future for our old friend, magnolia. Judy Smith says it will always be around. "Cream is definitely here to stay but I think even magnolia may have to change its name to keep up. Perhaps it should market itself as fromage and everyone will want to buy it again."
Crown Trade RIBA Drawings Collection: call 0870 241 6457 for details or visit the website www.historic-colours.co.uk