Wednesday, September 9, 2015

35/15 Part 8 - Paint Colors

What is 35/15? Read the Introduction first.


   We are going to take another fun detour in our walk down the street.

   Along with the photos in the Architectural Record are four paint colors, the only color printed throughout the entire edition. These paints were a sampling of the colors used around the historic area.

Colors Samplings, Architectural Record, December 1935

   Let's look a little closer at our Williamsburg paint. We're going to look briefly at any possible color differences, as well as how you would have seen this room in 1935 and today.


"Woodwork in Apollo Room, Raleigh Tavern"


"Flat Lead, Prussian and Ultramarine Blue, Ivory Drop Black, Van Dyke Brown, Raw Umber"


   Back in the Apollo Room again. The sample appears to be grayer than the paint used today. It is amazing how blue it makes the Apollo paint look, which typically looks a light grayish-blue

   To see this room and paint in 1935, the Raleigh Tavern was an exhibition building and open to those who paid fifty cents.

   To see this room and paint in 2015, you need to attend a special program at the Raleigh. Most Raleigh programs are in the Apollo Room during the summer. The Raleigh is not open for guided tours.


"Panels in North Room, First Floor, Governor's Palace, East Building"



"Yellow Ochre, Black, White Lead"


   This paint is the closest paint-to-sample matching. The paint surrounding the yellow is also a close match for the Apollo Room paint sample. They wouldn't be creating new paint for every single room in every single house, so it is entirely possible that it is.

   In 1935, the advance buildings were part of the exhibition site tour, being featured as offices and meeting rooms. If you paid fifty cents, you could see this paint.

To see this room in 2015, you either need to be part of an outside touring group going on a Palace tour, or see one of our evening programs that uses the north room of the East Advance Building.


"Woodwork in Room No. 302, Governor's Palace"



"Indian Red, Raw Umber, Black, White Lead"



   The red in the sample looks a little brighter than on this fireplace mantel. I was experimenting with using the flash, and while still darker, the paint looks closer to the sampling than in natural light.

   To see this room in 2015, you need to become an employee, most likely one who works at the Palace. Room 302 in the Palace is on the third floor. To my knowledge, this floor has never been open to the public. This paint color is in other buildings in the historic area, so I have no idea why they chose this room to represent this color over all the others. I don't know why they chose this color over another, more public color used inside the Palace.


"Woodwork in Parlor, St. George Tucker House"


"Flat Lead, Prussian and Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber"



   When I visited the St. George Tucker to take this picture, the docents said the room had been repainted in the last year. This color was created by using Colonial Williamsburg's newest and best paint-sensing technology to date.

   The last tenants, Tucker descendants, had said the color used in here had been the original color of the room. The sample, which is based off that original color, looks more grey than the newer color. It's possible the original color had faded when they created the sample.

   To see this room in 1935, you would have to be friends with the Tucker family. This house was a private residence until 1993.

   To see this room and paint in 2015, you need to donate $100 or more to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation each year. The house serves as Colonial Williamsburg's Donor Reception Center.



   In conclusion, for the most part, these colors have not changed too terribly much. Differences shown could be color printing errors or fading, or the colors in these rooms used to be slightly different colors. It's also possible being painted on wood would change some colors.

   The color choices mystify me. Two of the areas would not have been open to visitors in 1935. Currently, one area is off-limits to guests, while the other three require certain conditions to be met, along with possessing an admissions pass.

   If some of the paint is inspiring you to bring your house into the colonial era, 144 official Williamsburg paint colors are offered through Benjamin Moore.

Learn about the Foundation's continuous search for the 18th century paint colors HERE.


THANK YOU
Thank you to the staffs at the Palace and the St. George Tucker House for being very hospitable to my requests!

Sources Used:

View the whole 35/15 Project:
Introduction
Part 1 - College of William and Mary 
Part 2 - Merchants Square
Part 3 - Buildings that Move
Part 4 - Market Square
Part 5 - Ludwell-Paradise
Part 6 - Queen Street to Botetourt Street
Part 7 - Raleigh Tavern
Part 8 - Paints (You are currently viewing this one)
Part 9 - Botetourt Street to the Capitol Area
Part 10 - Capitol
Part 11 - No Longer Here
Part 12 - Francis and Nicholson Streets
Part 13 - Garden Edition
Part 14 - The Governor's Palace Gardens
Part 15 - Inside the Governor's Palace
Conclusion

Bonus 35/15 Posts:
35/15: A Dessert Order
35/15: Life in Williamsburg in 1935
35/15: Governor's Palace Wallpaper
35/15: Governor's Palace Wallpaper II

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