Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oxblood paint

Oxblood or deerblood tempera has been used since ancient time to protect structures from the elements. In Denmark the climate is extreme in the sense that water and ice form in the winter and high humidity is typical in summer. This leads to mould and water damage being a constant threat to structures.

In Kastellet near Langelinje the barracks and other buildings are painted in red and yellow colours derived from burnt ochre and either golden ochre or ferric oxid (I could not find a definitive answer as to which)mixed with oxblodd.

Many stories abound of the durability of tempera and the Rennaissance paintings certainly show it being true. One of specific interest is the story that an oak door on the "Priorshus" (Priors house) in "Ærøskøbing" on the island of "Ærø" in Denmark has, according to the tradition, been painted with only one layer of oxblood. This took place in 1690 and it has never been necessary to repaint it again.