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Architectural Paint Research

Architectural Paint Research (APR) is the scientific analysis of the individual layers of historic interior and/or exterior decorative treatments that have been used on a building.

It is important to us to ensure that the brief is discussed carefully with our clients, so that their specific aims can be met. The process enables Hare & Humphreys to:

  • identify historic original decoration layers or materials, and to
  • inform our client about the type and composition of previous decorative materials

APR can be used to analyse the materials used in a whole building, or a specific small area of particular importance.

We can carry out architectural paint research in our own laboratory, and additionally have a partnership with a London university, who carry out specialised SEM-EDX* analysis for us. APR involves taking small transect samples of paint which are then studied under a Polarised Light Microscopy Microscope (PLM) in our own lab. The microscope allows for accurate identification of pigments in the materials being identified. We can then develop a schematic, annotated diagram showing the decorative treatments and their compositions applied over the years. This can involve uncovering areas of original decoration that have been lost to the naked eye for hundreds of years.

The use of APR is informed by our detailed understanding of historic decoration and house painting techniques, both inside and out. We frequently use APR in conjunction with our own conservation or decoration projects. However, we frequently carry out Architectural Paint Research as a stand-alone service.

Our APR work results in the provision of a fully illustrated report and decoration specification with brush outs; and/or architectural drawings, or digital recreations depending on the client’s requirements.

This technique was traditionally known as paint analysis or paint scrapes.
Please contact us directly for further information about our Architectural Paint Research services.

  • SEM-EDX – Scanning Electron Microscope Energy Dispersive X-ray technology – used for analysing particulate composition.
  • Somerset House
  • Russian Orthodox
  • Research
  • Somerset House
  • Elton hall
  • Lab
  • Photomicrograph Chatsworth House
  • APR