Marching through the paint layers of history—revealing the hidden secrets of Provisional Parliament House (part 3)
Do you enjoy messing about with sample pots of paint and mixing in just a touch more white or black to get the shade just so? If you answered a resounding yes then the Members’ Dining Room was your idea of heaven during January. Following the research and planning and the laborious paint scraping to reveal the historic decorative paint finish, the final steps of the project have occurred – washing down, patching, colour matching and infill painting.
First the surface of the revealed paint finish was carefully wiped down with water to remove dust and any other accretions and the cracks and holes filled. Just like the washing down with sugar soap and patching that is so critical to a successful paint job at home. Next came colour matching and mixing. Much time was spent muttering over fans of paint colours as the extant colours were painstakingly matched for the infill painting. Infill painting refers to the process of painting to cover any cracks or patches or infill areas that haven’t been able to be revealed. In this situation these were the plaster friezes that, apart from a small sample area, could not be effectively stripped of the top layers of paint. Close attention is paid to using the same colours and techniques as the original decorators.
Once the painting was complete we all stood back and the decorative paint finish was revealed in all its glory. In one room the frieze is in soothing shades of mint, apricot, cream and silver with tan and green ragged walls. In another room a surprisingly jazzy red, gold, copper, mint, apricot and cream frieze is set amongst mint and tan ragged walls. In doing these reveals we have achieved one of our objectives – to be able to visualise how the Members’ Dining Room would have looked when the space was decorated throughout with this colour scheme.