Gladstone’s Land Edinburgh

Paint and pigment analysis of a remarkable early 17th century painted interior on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Gladstone's Land is derived from Thomas Gledstanes who purchased, extended and altered the property between 1617 and 1620. At this time narrow plots of land were divided into "Tenements" with the parts covered by buildings referred to as "Lands". Gledstanes and his wife occupied one of the flats in the "Land" possibly on the 3rd floor in which a painting of a gled (kite or hawk) is one of the features of the ceiling and possibly a rebus on his name [unconfirmed]. The remarkable painted decoration that survives throughout the building was executed in 1620, evidenced by this date painted onto the ceiling on the 2nd floor.

Lincoln Conservation were commissioned by The National Trust for Scotland to identify the pigments used in the palette of the 17th century colourman responsible, with further investigation of the traces of paint found on the window reveals on the external masonry fronting the street. Smalt, green verdigris, coke blacks and a variety of earth pigments were identified on the interior decoration, all consistent with the 17th century.