3D Scanning


I have been getting to grips with 3D scanning and can already see so many applications for conservation. In particular, recording 3-dimensional decorative schemes, and recording high level carving and detail to make it more accessible. Recording deterioration is also extremely useful to act as a comparator for future inspection.

The brickwork is a trial area from my house – where previous owners have repointed in cement, leading to damage to the brickwork.

Follow the link below to see the scan in action!


Messenger CPD Talks: Informed Conservation, Paint Research

All conservation should be underpinned by sound understanding and informed conservation is at the heart of our practice.  We are committed to outreach and education, and offer a range of CPD talks and practical demonstrations centered on the work the company undertakes.

Our Architectural Paint Research talk covers: How and why paint research is undertaken; how to design a brief to get the most from research; using the results to develop treatment proposals and how architectural paint research can save time and money over the course of a project.

We are always happy to discuss CPD talks and bespoke training events.

Email: karen.morrissey@messengerbcr.co.uk

Phone: 01780 761942

Mail: Messenger Conservation Ltd, The Messenger Centre, Crown Lane, Tinwell, Stamford, PE9 3UF


Paint on Historic Metal Work

Historic metalwork poses many difficult issues for conservation professionals. The treatment required for the long term preservation of the substrate often appears at odds with the preservation of the paint archaeology. In addition, the choice of materials to protect and decorate historic metalwork, whether it retains earlier coatings or not, is difficult and fraught with the risk of failure and further deterioration of the metal substrate.

This complex and difficult subject will be the focus of this year’s Traditional Paint Forum conference. Using the prism of transport and industrial heritage, a range of specialist will consider the analysis, use of colour, ethics and choice of materials and techniques.

You can find out more about the conference on the TPF website traditionalpaintforum.org.uk or on the eventbrite booking page 

Karen Morrissey Paint Research moves to Messenger Conservation

Messenger ConservationI am pleased to announce that I have been appointed as the Conservation Manager and Paint Researcher at Messenger Conservation Ltd, part of the Messenger group of companies. Our paint research services will continue to offer a flexible, cost effective service with the added benefit that research will now be supported and enhanced by follow-on care from the conservation team Messenger’s highly knowledgeable and skilled team of conservators and craftspeople.

Paintresearcher.com will be moving across to the forthcoming Messenger BCR website in due course.

If you have any projects you would like to discuss, please contact me at karen.morrissey@messengerbcr.co.uk


Find us on the Conservation Register

cons registerYou can find us on the Icon Conservation Register; click here to take a look.

Described on the Icon website, the Conservation Register  “…provides up-to-date information on who to go to for advice and expertise on the repair, restoration and care of valuable objects ranging from paintings to pottery to historic interiors and monuments, archaeology and archives to steam engines and sculpture.

Each practice selected for the Conservation Register completes a rigorous application process run by Icon and is led by a conservator-restorer who meets the standards required by their professional body.”



The website is finally here!

wallpaper 1Welcome to the shiny, new website for Karen Morrissey Paint Research. It’s been a long time coming; over two-and-a-half years in the making!

I have been busy working on many wonderful projects since becoming an independent consultant in 2012. I will be posting more information about some of the interesting, beautiful and quirky places as time goes on.

I hope that you will find the information about our services useful; if you have a question about paint research, I’d love to hear from you.

What is Historic Paint Research?

Detailed assessment and recording of accumulated layers of paint allows us to interpret changing use of colour and materials, enhancing our understanding of how our architectural heritage looked, how it was used and how shifting fashions, ownership and financial means contributed to the narrative of a site. Our choice in decoration, like those of our ancestors, tells a great deal about function, taste, personality, fashion, social standing and wealth.

Architectural paint research involves meticulous analysis of archival documentation, building pathology and paint archaeology to create a detailed history of more than just colour.

The scope of a research project is dictated by the project requirements, but generally includes:

Archive research

Archive information can provide significant insight to the paint researcher and should not be overlooked; understanding the development of the site can reduce the time required in understanding the paint archaeology, and allows a more thorough and detailed interpretation of the decorative history.

Identification of sample sites

Samples are generally taken from each profile element of the architecture. The reason for this is to establish the presence of any picking out to various elements. If the schemes are to be accurately investigated, understood, recorded and recreated then this is essential.

Collection of samples

It requires experience and skill to identify the best locations for samples. The samples are collected and recorded.

Cross section analysis

Samples are embedded in clear casting resin and polished to provide a cross-section through the  paint strata. The samples are assessed under visible-range and UV light illumination.

Stratigraphic sequencing

The paint archaeology is plotted in a matrix to illustrate the chronology of decoration. The resulting table provides an easily accessible reference and is a useful project tool.

Pigment and binder analysis

Knowledge of pigment types can play an important role in dating paint schemes. For example, the presence of white pigments lead carbonate, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide allow paint films to be considered within certain periods of time.

Understanding the type of paint binder is also important, especially where failure or incompatibility issues may arise.

In-situ investigation and recording of paint archaeology

In situ recording and investigation, referred to as uncovering or layering tests, will involve the photographic recording of extant finishes, as well as careful removal of overpaint, scheme by scheme, to allow colour matching to be undertaken.

Review of treatment options

The concluding documentation should consider the significance of the paint schemes and appropriate treatment options.

Colour matching

Historic paint films are often discoloured through deterioration of the pigments and binder, as well as through environmental factors and historic cleaning regimes. Therefore, colour matching is based not only on site evidence but also on the understanding of the materials gained during the investigation.

What are the benefits of paint research for your project?

Benefits of undertaking a considered and well planned campaign of architectural paint research include:

Project management

  • By providing clarity at the beginning of a project, architectural paint research can allow planning and budgeting of conservation and restoration work
  • Identification of technical issues with paint, such as latent incompatibility, performance and toxicity
  • Contribution to long-term conservation management plan
  • Underpinning options for conservation/ restoration

Enriching the interpretation of your site

  • Enhancement of the recorded archaeology of a site
  • Establishment of the chronology of decorative schemes
  • Creation of a narrative of changes to the structure and related decorative schemes
  • Evaluation of how changing fashion, economy and use of a heritage asset has impacted on the choice, quality and condition of decoration
  • Interpretation of the significance of the schemes identified
  • Dating of both paint schemes and architectural changes