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The Remembrance of Distemper

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 11 Jan 2016, 03:35
Tonight at my local pub, the snug was stripped bare for repainting. The Sunday regulars discussed interior decorating for a while, and then someone (I think it was the pint of IPA) mentioned distemper: something which was common before we started decorating our interior walls with emulsion.

Distemper! A Marcel Proust moment for me, with paint in place of cake. Not only do I remember the wall that half a century ago I was sent to distemper, I remember too the colour (a sort of orange my mother wanted). I can see now details of the room: where the windows are; the dressing table; the adjoining washroom with its obscure glass window and fanlight; the coat-hook on the door. I feel the texture of the wall, grasp the handle of my broad, black-bristled paintbrush. 

Distemper has been and is still is used as an art medium. Here's an attractive example from 1918. What a super composition! And there is an interesting story surrounding it; try looking up "The Grand Teddy Tea Rooms paintings."



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