Monday, February 22, 2021

Historic Paint Colours, Heritage Palettes, Red Ochre Paint, and Jellybean Row!

Two-tone house in Hickman's Harbour, Random Island, late 1990s. 

In the early days, the colour palette used on Newfoundland and Labrador buildings was much more limited than today. Colours available were those that could be made from natural materials such as minerals (for example, red and yellow ochre, zinc white or lime white wash) or plant dyes. In the first half of the 19th century many wooden buildings, particularly in rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador were either unpainted, whitewashed, or covered with red ochre paint comprising powdered ochre mixed with seal or fish oil. Evidence of red ochre paint has been found in the archaeological remains of the province’s earliest known residential building constructed in 1610 at the Cupids Cove Plantation. 

In the 19th century the houses of the wealthier residents sometimes employed a different colour for trimwork while most houses were a single colour.  Until well into the 20th century, houses in many outport communities were white with a coloured trim.  Fishing structures such as stages and storehouses were generally either white, red ochre or brown or not painted at all, although there were always exceptions to the rule in terms of colour. 

In the early 20th century, pre-mixed paints became available, particularly with the establishment of the paint division of Standard Manufacturing in St. John’s in 1907. After World War II, a much broader range of colours became available around the province, the product of modern industrial paint production processes. The 1970s and '80s saw the beginning of a significant expansion of the colour palette, particularly in St. John’s. The St. John’s Heritage Foundation played a significant role in the revitalization of the old downtown residential neighbourhoods during this period.  The foundation encouraged livelier colour schemes with one or more accent colours for exterior trims and mouldings

Heritage Paints

Historic paint colours in Newfoundland and Labrador

Historic Paint Chart from Templetons

Shane O'Dea on heritage paint schemes:

Red Ochre and Lime Whitewash

Making red ochre paint

Way more on red ochre than you would ever want to know

Paint in Twillingate

Jelly Bean Row Colours

The Jelly Bean Palette

Is the bay being bedazzled by Jellybean Row colours and losing its unique identity?

Candy Coloured Homes

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