Welsh Color Paint Analysis

Welsh Color Paint Analysis

Analysis of Historic Paints and Wallpapers


Frank S. Welsh, president of Welsh Color & Conservation, Inc., provides on-site investigation and microanalysis in the lab of paint and wallpaper finishes associated with historic structures and objects of fine art for determination of original color and composition for documentation and authentication. He has consulted on the restoration of historic buildings and conservation of antiques and objects of fine art in the United States, and internationally since 1974.

The company serves architects, engineers, curators, historic site administrators, decorative painters, conservators, old-house owners and private collectors. Services range from comprehensive, on-site paint and finishes investigation and sampling to receiving samples taken by clients using our Sampling Guide – the Paintpamphlet™. The laboratory analyses can cover basic color evaluation to in-depth study requiring extensive research and materials analysis.

Our experience in the field, state-of-the-art laboratory and extensive collection of color samples offers clients unequaled accuracy and detail in paint analysis and wallpaper analysis. The stereomicroscope, polarized light microscope, U.V. microscope, scanning electron microscope and spectrophotometer aid in determining the number of layers, colors and types of coatings on all architectural materials as well as objects of fine art and antiques. Paint pigments, wallpaper fibers, and binders can be identified, as can decorative painting, such as graining and stenciling or trompe l’oeil.

Our comprehensive reports are customized to suit each client’s needs. They document findings, present laboratory data, include cross section photomicrographs and color samples, and make specific recommendations. They serve as authoritative references for historic preservation and authentication projects.

We maintain affiliations with other specialists including, chemists, art and object conservators, restoration specialists, and architectural historians, to effectively meet a wide range of client, project and staffing requirements.

The strength of our company is rooted in more than thirty-five years of experience in the investigation and microscopical analysis of paint and wallpaper evidence. We excel in relating technical findings to a broadly-based historical knowledge of numerous decorative painting and papering materials and techniques.

Completed architectural restoration projects range from vernacular 18th-century buildings at Valley Forge, to World Heritage sites like Independence Hall, Monticello and the University of Virginia. Other well known sites include Colonial Williamsburg, the White House, the homes of Abraham Lincoln and John D. Rockefeller, Grand Central Terminal, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Eero Saarinen’s Dulles International Airport. National landmarks include the United States Capitol and state capitols from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Virginia, Georgia and Florida, plus three centuries of American houses, churches, courthouses, castles, and light houses. We also have analyzed paints from bridges, stage coaches, carriages, railroad cars and boats. In addition, we often analyze the paints associated with paintings, antiques, toys and objects of fine art for authentication purposes.

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