In England, very little is known of the painting trade prior to the 13th century. It was at this point when ‘guilds’ began to form (an association of artisans or merchants who controlled the practice of their craft in a particular town) and amongst them were the Painters Company and the Stainers Company. With the consent of the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1502, the two guilds merged and became The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers. The guild regulated the quality of the craft and acted as protector of the trades secrets. In 1606 Parliament granted a bill to enforce protection from outside competition such as plasterers. The Act legislated for a seven year apprenticeship and barred plasterers from painting. The enforcement of this Act was sought by The Worshipful Company until the 19th century.
The painting of this corridor was part of a lazure workshop at Portland Waldorf School. The warm colours of the first grades transition to the greens and blues of early teenage years.
Red was your colour.
If not red, then white. But red
Was what you wrapped around you.
Blood-red. Was it blood?
Was it red-ochre, for warming the dead?
Haematite to make immortal
The precious heirloom bones, the family bones.
Extract from the poem ‘Red’ by Ted Hughes (married to Sylvia Plath when she committed suicide in 1963)
Haematite is an iron oxide and the name is derived from a Greek word meaning blood.
Ochre is clay that is coloured by varying amounts of haematite.