Classical Verdigris

A classical finish associated with sculpture and age, Verdigris is an interiors trend predicted to be big for seasons to come. You’ll notice the striking blue-green patina perfectly complements the brass and copper so popular in many of our interiors. No surprise, seeing as this turquoise hue is the natural colour that will develop when these metals react with air, or oxidise. This is why the Statue of Liberty (originally gleaming copper), as well as some church drainpipes and domed roofs, have this distinctive pale turquoise shade.

You might wonder why indeed copper and bronze (an alloy containing copper) turns green rather than any other colour? The answer is that copper is closely related to malachite – a vivid green natural stone. Malachite has in fact been smelted to create copper for over 3000 years. Verdigris patina therefore contains this mineral as well as another called azurite – an electric blue stone. The striking pigments from these two minerals create the unique turquoise shade – a colour sought after and used by artists since antiquity.

At Tom Faulkner we offer two different ways to achieve this distinguished finish. Clients can have their steel furniture hand-painted by our expert team to resemble a Verdigris finish, or they can choose to have their bronze piece patinated – treated with a sped-up oxidisation process. This method of patination simply accelerates the oxidisation process that would naturally occur if the metal was left outside for years. The difference between the two finishes is that the former is cosmetic, the latter actively changes the composition of the metal’s surface permanently.

With over 30 years of experience our patination specialist Ben tells us the final finish is dependent on myriad factors including metal type, size of surface area, temperature and the skill of the artisan. Bronze is the metal most frequently patinated, however it is possible to use the same process on copper, zinc, brass and aluminium. Each metal reacts differently and the finished patina will vary hugely in colour. Ben also tells us the mark of the artisan is also a factor with this process, according to how evenly the technique is applied to the metal and the length of time spent on each piece.

The final conundrum – do you have your Verdigris painted or patinated? We’re delighted to offer both options. Our painted finish is the more affordable option, it offers complete control over exact hue and the final look is often very clean and polished. The patinated finish on the other hand is our most luxurious option and is often the choice of our most discerning clients. The final look is more natural, with imperfections, indeed you could say the surface is a living finish that will change over the years. Either way, the cool hue of Verdigris is a hot trend, ancient in origins but a having a modern revival in our interiors.

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