Annapolis Heritage Society | Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

The Painted Room Interpretive Tour

Wall Painting

Beginning in the 17th century young wealthy European men would undertake a traditional tour of Europe, known as the ‘Grand Tour’. They would be exposed to the cultural treasures of Europe, including the painted walls of Hellenistic Greece, ancient Rome, and the great Renaissance frescoes of Italy. It became fashionable to replicate scenery on walls well into the 20th century. The technique used to paint these walls is often referred to as ‘fresco secco’ – painting on dry plaster.

In 18th and 19th century Nova Scotia, many portrait painters advertised themselves as decorators to supplement their income. Some became apprentices learning to prepare wall surfaces, grinding and mixing pigments, stenciling, marbleizing, and painting freehand. Itinerant and community artists travelled door to door offering their services.