We’ve been freshening up our bedchambers here at Agecroft Hall. In an attempt to bring more historical accuracy to our tour, we decided to paint the South Chamber and the Tapestry Chamber, the two bedchambers on exhibit. If you’ve been to visit Agecroft, you might remember the dark, yellow-y color in those two rooms. After researching paint colors and room decorations, we decided to paint the rooms a stone color, more similar to the paint used by people in the Tudor and Stuart periods.
Paint colors in the 17th century were surprisingly quite varied. While many formal rooms were still hung with oak paneling, other, less formal rooms, such as bedchambers, were painted and hung with various wall hangings. The color a room was painted depending greatly on the location of the home and the wealth of the owners. Homes in London with wealthy owners probably used more pigmented paints—blues being very expensive as indigo was imported to color the paint. In other, more middle class homes, paint would have used more natural pigments that were readily available such as browns and stones.
A manor home such as Agecroft, so far from London, would have most likely used a naturally pigmented lime wash as paint. Lime wash is a wall covering similar to paint. It can be pigmented and it has mild antibacterial properties which, in a time when germs were not yet known, was very helpful in keeping households healthy. We chose an off white, stone color for various reasons. While we attempted to stick to a historical color, we also needed to lighten up the rooms for our tours. We also wanted to portray the Tudor Stuart period more accurately and the yellow color previously on the walls seemingly reinforced the incorrect idea that 17th century people and their homes were dirty and unhygienic. In fact, at many homes, the interiors were freshly painted with lime wash every year. We are open for tours Tuesday-Sunday, please come take a look at our newly refreshed rooms!