Queen Victoria And Prince Albert

February 10, 2012 by staff 

Queen Victoria And Prince Albert, In December 1861 the country was shocked by news of Prince Albert’s sudden death. ‘Paint everything black’ proclaimed a grief stricken Queen Victoria, and from that day to this, all railings in the land have been painted black. Well so the story goes – but it is just not true!

The story of Queen Victoria and black railings is a popular urban myth.

Black did not become the default colour for the decoration of railings until almost 100 years later – during the late 1950s. The reason? The development and availability of fast-drying alkyd resin paints.
Iron railings have always been painted to prevent them rusting. During the seventeenth and eighteenth-century, architectural metalwork was routinely painted grey, a cheap colour (lead white mixed with lamp black) referred to in contemporary accounts as ‘lead colour’ or ‘iron colour’. Grey was the standard colour for all architectural metalwork until the early nineteenth century.

It was not until the manufacture of Chrome Green, that coloured railings became affordable. One of the earliest examples of this green, was applied to the Duke of Wellington’s Apsely House railings – decorated during the 1820′s.

After Albert’s death, Queen Victoria wore black for the rest of her life and her staff were forced to wear mourning armbands until 1869.

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