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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back

Heritage Colours: Research and Planning
Rediscovers Original Colours

by Cheryle Harrison

Heritage colours are more than mere paint on buildings. Colour has a language of its own. Blues and greens evoke calm and security. Red or black can provoke strong emotional reactions. The colours we choose for our interiors can be very personal. The colours we select for the outside of our buildings can influence our community, culture and history.

Theatre exterior

The Columbia/Raymond Burr Theatre, New Westminster BC. Archival photo, circa 1927.

Grid detail

Detail of architectural panel with diamond motif accentuated with a rope design. Test squares for ascertaining original colours of theatre.

Painted grid

Present day image of diamond panel with heritage colours.

Our exterior environment is constantly changing. Renovations or modifying a building’s use can affect its appearance and historic style. An example of architectural change is The Columbia, renamed the Raymond Burr Theatre in New Westminster, British Columbia. Built in 1927, this atmospheric theatre was a venue for vaudeville, plays and a variety of other uses. Several alterations to the building are visible. The exterior’s upper façade retains its original Moorish theme with its textured walls, carved stone pilasters and decorative frieze. A pair of large panels with diamond designs is at its centre. At each end of the façade is a door with ornamental ironwork and balconies.

Thick coatings of paint, grime, stains, water damage and corrosion obscure the theatre’s original colours and architectural motifs. As part of a recent maintenance project, the theatre’s upper façade was to be cleaned and repainted.

In preparation, I investigated numerous areas on the wall, panels, doors and ironwork. Using microscopic examination, a custom solvent solution and a scalpel, many layers of paint were thinned off. A map of the original colours and overall design was revealed. Individually testing the diamond panels uncovered the alternate use of dark green and sap green for the design. Golden braided rope and rosettes outlined the diamond shapes, and colourful borders further defined the panels.

Samples of the original paint were forwarded to Lorne Friedenstab, a Benjamin Moore colour specialist to recreate the colours. Together with Architect, Eric Patterson, an onsite mock up tested the new paint as a final stage of the colour selection.

Research and planning rediscovered the colours and their historic placement to regain a part of this theatre’s visual heritage.

For more information visit the FACTS (Fine Art Care and Treatment Standards) website at www.artfacts.org.

Previously: Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protection

 Fri, Feb 1, 2008