Quality Adelaide Heritage Finishes
We are passionate about preserving the authenticity of traditional Adelaide heritage finishes! Lancaster Painters Australia offer painting methods that are reproduced using the same paint methods and materials employed after which painting methods began to dominate the industry. Our work is based on exhaustive and continuous research into methods, materials, techniques and styles. Each job is individually hand-painted by skilled artisans without compromises in quality, historical accuracy or consistency. Working from original paint scrapings, Lancaster Painters Australia has successfully reproduced paint finishes including decorative finishes by understanding documentary evidence and accurately reproducing the style, character and look of the original period look. We are committed to using the correct paint and materials for heritage work, recommending those with low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Featured above: The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer (c. 1658). Vermeer was lavish in his choice of expensive pigments, including Indian Yellow, lapis lazuli, and Carmine, as shown in this vibrant painting.
How do traditional paints differ from those available today?
Traditional external paints fall into two main categories: those used on masonry and those used on timber and joinery. The former included the simple lime washes used on service buildings, and the more sophisticated washes applied to better classes of buildings. The latter were the functional, protective coatings designed to shield timber and woodwork from the ravages of the environment. Oil paints, mixed on a base of white lead and linseed oil, were most commonly applied to timber and sometimes masonry surfaces. However, as the harmful effects on human health of white lead became fully understood, replacement pigments, including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, were introduced to replace lead. It is no longer possible to purchase white lead and red lead paints for general use.
Interior finishes included water-based distempers for walls and ceilings and a range of clear varnishes made from resins for use on timber joinery. The modern equivalents of these materials are the water-thinnable emulsion paints and acrylics, which can produce the same flat, even finishes as calcimine, and the synthetic resin varnishes.
Traditional Colour Schemes
In the reconstruction of traditional colour schemes it is usually possible to accurately reproduce the colours and finishes of early paint schemes. However, it is sometimes necessary to introduce conjecture to finalise all of the details. In such cases it is advisable to work from one of the ‘heritage’ colour ranges to choose colours which are known to be correct for the period, since these palettes of heritage colours are based on authentic paint colour palettes.
Since modern paints come in a wide range of colours and finishes it is now usual to repaint old paint schemes to match closely the originals, at least in terms of their colours and gloss levels. But it must be remembered that new paintwork will never achieve the same surface characteristics, because modern paints are more sophisticated and, when brushed out with conventional brushes, will appear smoother and more uniform than the original. For most people this is an acceptable compromise.
Care is taken in specifying finishes which will not adversely affect the conservation of the substrate. For example, modern paints do not allow damp substrates to “breathe”, although some acrylics achieve a degree of permeability.
Adelaide heritage finishes include Decorative Arts finishes, Victorian, Federation, Georgian, Edwardian, Queen Anne, Art Deco, Gothic and Pugin designs, Artistic finishes, Modern Heritage finishes and more.
Heritage decorative finishes for Adelaide include faux (fake) marbling and wood graining, marquetry, heraldry, signage, stencils, decorative ceiling roses and cornices, hand painted wallpaper, copper antiquing, gilding, motifs and designs, furniture finishes etc.