Friday, January 30, 2009


Some years ago, when restoration first began on Riddick's Folly, paint scrapings were taken for analysis in the house's front parlor. The tests indicated that the oldest of the numerous layers of paint was "Prussian Blue," sometimes called "Berlin Blue." If you're wondering, it looks closest to this color. While the restoration of the parlor utilized a different color scheme, it did reveal a lot about interior decorating of the early 19th century.

One of the more intriguing things we see is that little to no attention was paid to coordinating the various colors in a room, no less from one room to another. The Prussian Blue found in the door molding was probably different from the paint, which would have been different from the furniture upholstery, different from any rugs, and so on. It seems that our careful coordination of pleasing color combinations may have been a bit hasty.

Though the expense will prohibit us from correcting this any time soon, we do have another trick we can play. A fairly common practice of the time period was to paint not just the walls and molding, but also the ceiling. Specifically, the crown molding would often be a shade half as light as the walls, and the ceiling would then be half as light as that. With the prominent white plaster medallion in the front parlor, adding this touch of color would make it rather impressive.

Taking inspiration from the capital improvements underway at Riddick's Folly, we would like to incorporate the new paint scheme as soon as possible. If it sounds expensive, it can be. If you'd like to contribute (hint, hint) toward the painting, please contact the museum office. That would help a lot.

Otherwise, stay tuned for updates on this, as well as our other continuing restoration work.

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