Seminar: Colour & Finish in Heritage Ironwork

Event Description

We live in a world of many and varied colours, from bright and bold to subtle and calm, and we make full use of this wide palette to decorate our built environment.  So why is it that when it comes to ironwork the majority of people specify black? This day aims to explode the ‘always black’ myth, look at alternatives, and outline best practice for discovering, conserving and re-instating original colour schemes.

Preconception – Do you automatically think of ‘black’ as the appropriate colour for heritage ironwork? If so then you are in the majority, but why is this?

We will explore:

  • The 20th Century fashion for black ironwork & its impact
  • The misconception that ironwork always was and always should be black
  • A range of historic colours & finishes and what influences colour fashions

Paint Research – a crucial practice in projects where the surface might be damaged or removed. Find out:

  • Why paint sampling & analysis is so important
  • How to record findings

Conserving Finishes and Coatings – putting conservation theory into practise isn’t always straightforward.  How do you practically go about:

  • Retaining original paint layers
  • Localised paint removal and repairs
  • Preparing for removal of all paint where it is the only realistic approach


Colour for Historic Settings – different scenarios call for a different approach. We will discuss methodology for:

  • Re-instating original colours
  • Establishing a colour scheme when no original paint remains
  • Choosing a colour for new work in historic settings.




Each topic will begin with a presentation or case-study from experienced professionals, followed by whole-group discussion.

The purpose of this event is not just to educate but to stimulate debate via exchange of information and opinion.  Full programme details including speakers to follow.

9.30am Registration

4.30pm Close


Patrick Baty, Historic Paint Consultant, renowned expert on the paint and colours of the past four centuries:

Kathryn Ferry, Architectural Historian specialising in the colour theory of Owen Jones:

Bethan Griffiths, Metalwork Designer & Consultant, The Ironwork Studio, whose projects both heritage and modern include a wide range of colourful ironwork:

Peter Meehan, Conservator, Historic Metalwork Conservation Company, with wide-ranging experience in several fields of metalwork:

Charlotte Owen, Paint Researcher, Hirst Conservation, with a conservation background at the National Trust, English Heritage and Cambridge University Museums:


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Please give the name of the delegate if different from above.

Delegate job title or job description, e.g. Architect, Heritage Officer.

Ticket Price Quantity
Early Bird inc. lunch £70.00 Sold out
Student inc. lunch £50.00 Sold out

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Bookings must be made at least 15 working days in advance of the course date accompanied by payment in full. Once your booking form and payment have been received a receipt will be sent out. In the event of cancellation by the customer please notify the NHIG Secretary immediately using the below contact details as the following charges will apply: ➣ 14 working days or less before the date – 100% of the cost ➣ More than 14 working days before the date – 15% retention for admin ☐ The NHIG reserves the right to cancel the course with 14 working days notice if sufficient delegate numbers have not been confirmed. ☐ The NHIG and venue provider do not accept liability for personal injury to, or the loss or damage of clothing, equipment or other property belonging to persons attending the course.

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