The building of a mediæval castle at Guédelon in France involves much more than simply the construction of the building. They are also looking into how the rooms would have been decorated and how the pigments were made. Jill Robertson, from Australia, who subscribes to my free online monthly newsletter (join here), has visited the site and supplied these photographs of pigments being made and used. I am very grateful indeed to her for doing this and allowing me to share them. PLEASE NOTE: All photographs on this page are © Jill Robertson.
Pigments may be made from ground stone.
Or vegetation and flowers can be mix with water and heated until the colour is released, or pigments, such as cinnabar, can be made ‘by alchemy’.
The water in some pigments is then allowed to evaporate leaving the pigment to dry to a powder, which is much easier to carry around than wet paint. It is then reconstituted with an adhesive, and finally mixed with water to a suitable consistency.
This one has dried so that it looks a little like milk chocolate curls – better not taste it though!
Then the pigments are mixed again…
Walls in many mediæval buildings, particularly ones like castles which may have housed a noble family with money, could be quite colourful.
Patterns and floral decoration were painted freehand.
The walls would certainly brighten up what could have been a rather dull life!