What colour do you paint a château? Reimagining the palette of the past


Color is an accurate science, but its nature and our perception of color change with time, place, and juxtaposition. “When you talk about historic colors, you look at them through the lens of the society in which you live,” says interior designer Tim Gosling. “If you look at the Charlton Heston version, Ben HarHysterical, because it’s a story about the Romans of Jerusalem in the 1st century, but all colors [now feel] Incredible 1960s. Colors are burned in each popular era. “

Gosling started his career at furniture maker David Linley and now creates interiors for superyachts and hotels in London such as The Goring and The Berkeley. He has recently fallen into a time warp and sat on the floor of one of the 57 rooms in Normandy’s castle, which he bought with Steve Holmes of the fiance three years ago, mixing new paint colors on the walls.

The chateau dates back to 1820 and was remodeled in 1910 by Ritz designer Georges Fercy in Paris, and a year later the Savary family moved. The vast hall was occupied by the Nazis during World War II and then by General Eisenhower. The house fell into the hands of a wealthy American from Hawaii, who eventually abandoned it 20 years ago and was defeated because it was impossible to heat it to a livable temperature.

Currently, Gosling’s 82-year-old mother is on a scaffolding, gold-plated gates, and tends to pay attention to the details of the exterior exterior of the main entrance, but the ceiling, driveway, and magnificent gardens have been gradually restored. increase. Schumacher’s elaborate floral Madame de Pompadour wallpaper hangs inside, and Zardi & Zardi weaves a vast wraparound tapestry into the dining room that tells the story of the victory of the gods.

Gosling (right) and partner Steve Holmes after hanging the wallpaper of Mrs. Schumacher’s Madame de Pompadour at the chateau

The engine for the entire project is a color palette created by Gosling for the home, trying to reproduce historically meaningful shades. Twelve of these are currently sold by the British paint company Graphenstone as The Restoration Château Collection.

All colors are based on the women’s clothing depicted in 17th century paintings by an unknown artist that Gosling purchased for the castle’s Grand Salon. “With Aubusson’s red and French-specific blue splashes, her outfit has a lot of lacework,” Gossling talks about how pigments were developed in contrasting ways on different aspects of the English Channel. Says.

Geography has a lot to do with how you perceive color — the light that inspired Titian in Veneto is completely different from, for example, Texas light. But above all, it is chemistry that determines how a color is rendered and then perceived.

“The colors that hit the market in the 17th and 19th centuries were related to innovation,” he says. The Royal Society hosted a lecture on science and paint composition. “Turner, not the artist, created Turners Yellow, which does not oxidize. [architect] Used by John Soane. “

“Portrait of a Lady of Quality” (1860s) that influenced the Gossling paint collection

Color swatch sheet

Color swatches from the Gossling palette

Gosling is particularly fascinated by the greenery that came from Paris and Versailles in the 1680s and 1800s. It was all the rage when the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheel developed a new bright green in 1775. The striking tone came from the unique chemical structure of Scheele heating sodium carbonate and adding copper sulphate, but the magical component was arsenic.

Napoleon’s love for the toxic greens may have contributed to his death. Interestingly, Turner’s Yellow is believed to be a copy of the previous Scheele formulation, which is a mixture of chlorine and oxygen.

The range of new Gothling paints may be described as “regency”. This is a word closely related to his work so far. However, the term is amorphous, except that a wide variety of bright colors became popular at the end of the George dynasty. Many of the pigments that were popular in 1811 have been around for years. Suddenly, it became popular to use them abundantly.

“Terms like’regency’are often used, but they don’t make sense,” says color historian Patrick Baty. Color anatomy.. “And I’m wary of the word” recovery ” [too] It usually simply means “refurbishment.” “

Although the name of the Gothling graphene stone paint uses the term “restoration”, in reality this project is a playful and personal interpretation of historical ideas. They try the real thing, but the paint is obviously new. Graphene Stone’s greatest marketing strategy is the use of graphene, a material composed of hexagonal layers of carbon atoms. This shows that research can absorb carbon dioxide. Graphenstone claims that a 15L pot of Biosphere paint can absorb up to 5.5kg of CO2 when cured on the finished surface.

Tim Gosling Castle Petit Salon

The castle near Bayeux was occupied by the Nazis during the war

Tim Gosling's Castle Room

Development of paint manufacturing was necessary, but there was a problem. “The industry experienced a painful change between 2000 and 2010,” says Bati, “the oily emulsion has been replaced by an acrylic emulsion.” Although the quality of the finish has deteriorated as a result of regulations, Baty says that many in the industry are now making decisive efforts to improve their products.

It makes loyal paint recreation almost impossible. “In the past, we tried to recreate historic paints with pigments that no longer exist, but today we can’t do that because even things like the pH of water are different,” says Bati. increase. “And why are you? Something is flawed and will be toxic.”

As Gosling sees, the goal is to achieve something significantly better than what previously existed when the goalpost continues to move in terms of acceptable production methods. After all, even if you can faithfully reproduce a historical color, it is useless to try to reproduce the effect of the way the color was originally received.

“It’s impossible to imagine what it was like to enter a new bright yellow-painted room in the 1800s,” he says. In 2009, researchers at Oregon State University created a new blue called YInMnBlue. “It’s almost a dark, fluorescent color. And so far, no one has done it yet, so I can’t imagine what it would be like to enter a room painted in that color.”

Gosling says the process of mixing and testing colors in a chateau was long, but then we were looking at how widely a particular color would be used in space and what we would call it. rice field. “We had to think about what worked for the whole room, and whether it could only be used for doors,” he says.

One of the new colors, Akitania Ocean Dawn — Gosling describes it as “green with a lot of blue” — named after the Cunard Ocean Liner, which first sailed from Liverpool to New York in 1914. I did.

The Château Grand Staircase is one of the attributes that could not be removed when the Nazis passed, with the same design as the prestigious staircase, and made with the same hands and factories. liner.

Much of the joy of the new paint range comes from how each color works with each other. Madame de Pompadour’s taffeta is dark green and brings dynamic prosperity next to the light Akitania. “I thought a lot about how the colors complement each other in the weaving of the carpet,” Gosling said, trying to create a matching color in a similar way.

Many of the palettes have been tested at Gosling’s house in Clapham, southwest London, where he uses it as a kind of lab and repeatedly repaints to experiment with tone nuances. It may become clear when you look at the colors on the spot.

For example, when I first saw the inner shell pink color on his new paint swatch card, I noticed that it wasn’t quite noticeable yet. However, when applied to the paneling behind the Gossling four-poster bed, it is surrounded by a contrasting panel of eucalyptus haze in another new color, with a Leblanc-style pastel portrait hanging in the center. Looking through the windows of the teeth and Ladurée.

Exterior of Tim Gosling Castle

Exterior of the 57-room chateau

“One of the most amazing things about this project is that we have all the documentation related to the building,” says Gosling. He unfolds a blueprint with a pale pink interior wall and takes out a box full of receipts. Ordering historic equipment and accessories.

“Also, all the furniture was hidden in the storage area. [at the start of the war].. The family kept everything in the barn, and it was untouched for decades. We are talking with all plasterers about what was designed to fit a marble fireplace. “

The Belle Epoque treasures discovered by Gosling included the original crystal chandelier, solid rosewood, and the Three Graces watch. The concept of “restoration color” may be fancy, but furniture restoration is systematic and Gosling pays close attention.

Gosling’s London Library, with scale models of both the Château and the Akitania Cruise Liner, has the work of the Château he has restored. This includes the sconces he boil-cleans and the dazzling elements of those crystal chandeliers. .. There are also piles of photographs detailing the life of the Savary family at home, as well as uncertain images of the occupation of the castle in the early 1940s.

“We have found the most notable one,” says Gosling. “I found Nazi documents packed in the heating vents. It’s the path I need to go out to buy food.” When Pierre Savary was shot by the SS, Gosling was shot by his wife Lucienne. I discovered that I was able to escape with the children and did not return until after the war. The D-Day landing operation took 30 minutes by car.

“The whole is Downton AbbeyBut it’s real life, “he says. “We made friends with the kids who fled, the kids of Maud and Bridget. It’s great that they are at home and tell us what they remember.”

The chateau has been upset for 200 years. What will the next 200 look like? Currently, Gosling and Holmes’ @restorationchateau Instagram accounts have more than 25,000 followers after a new trip. Fifty-seven rooms slowly form and shine like they once were.

Of course, the day will come when the project will be completed — and there will be plenty of rooms to live in. Looking at the original blueprint, Gosling points out the eccentricity of the original design. “There lived 11 servants here, and the pool room is directly opposite their bedroom,” he says. “Since he was a friend of his family, there is also a bedroom for Charles de Gaulle.”

So how will Gosling and Holmes end up using a much more fulfilling home than a weekend vacation from London? “Oh, we’re not working on thinking about it,” Gosling says. “There’s a lot to do first!”

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