From the late 18th century until the early 20th century, London shopfronts had striking colours many of which could be used in Seven Dials and Covent Garden greatly adding to the attraction of our streets and individual shopfronts, especially the many historic ones.
Please note that the colours illustrated are approximate and it is essential to try samples out first if planning to cover large areas. Our illustrations only give an approximate indication of colours, indeed paint charts are also approximate. Paints in the same colours vary according to finishes – from matt, to eggshell to gloss the same colour becomes darker.
Paint as a means of protection and, to a lesser extent, of identification has been in general use since the introduction of softwood in exterior joinery in the mid-seventeenth century. Over the years a wide range of interesting colours were developed, and it is these traditional colours which are recommended especially for the area’s many historic shopfronts. Were such colours to be widely used within the Study area the streets would be more striking and individual traders would benefit. Many of these historic colours have a subtlety which eludes current pastel colours. Whether a major freeholder, a retailer or a resident, we hope this paint section will assist you in enhancing our neighbourhood to the benefit of all stakeholders.
If you wish to be historically accurate, some typical Georgian and Victorian shopfront colours are Lead White, Buff, Stone, Cream, Lead Grey, Olive, Spanish Brown, Chocolate, Purple Brown, Bronze Green, Invisible Green and Brunswick Green. They can be found in the ranges below. Many of the other colours in these ranges were for interiors, but might be considered for external use as many are striking, unlike modern pastels.
Below we illustrate some of these typical Georgian and Victorian shopfront colours, in this case from the Dulux Heritage range.
Typical Georgian and Victorian Shopfront Colours
Three colour ranges are recommended: Dulux’s Heritage Colours, Little Greene’s Period Paints and Papers & Paints’ Traditional Colours.
The Dulux Heritage Range was developed in the mid 1990s via research carried out by English Heritage with advice from Patrick Baty (the Seven Dials Trust’s pro bono adviser) and Jenny Little. The original 1995 colours, illustrated below, were divided by period (Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco) and are all readily available. We use these charts as Dulux’s current charts do not readily show these vibrant historic colours and their periods.
Little Greene Period Paints
Little Greene has an extensive range of well researched and striking historic colours. Below are some of their historic colours by period.
Dark Lead Colour
Late Georgian (Regency)
Mid Lead Colour
Terra di Sienna
Ashes of Roses
Light Brunswick Green
Mid Brunswick Green
Dark Brunswick Green
Light Bronze Green
Mid Bronze Green
Dark Bronze Green
Bone China Blue
Mid Azure Green
Papers & Paints Traditional Colours
Papers & Paints is a family company. Specialists in this field for many years, they have carried out research for both of the above larger companies. They also offer a colour matching service. Their range of traditional paints is available on their website.