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"What colour were Viking halls?" Topic

16 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

Wombling Free16 Oct 2016 7:14 a.m. PST

Some interesting thoughts here about Viking Age halls and what colours they might have been. Time to stop painting them 'wood'-coloured, perhaps. I look forward to reading more research on this topic.

Pan Marek16 Oct 2016 10:39 a.m. PST

Uh oh. Another topic along the lines of "did the Saxons use cavalry"?

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2016 11:09 a.m. PST

I rather think the lack of literary sources mentioning painted halls is telling, now, if we are talking about wall hangings….!

Wombling Free16 Oct 2016 2:06 p.m. PST

Uh oh. Another topic along the lines of "did the Saxons use cavalry"?

Hardly. The article cites some physical evidence. We just have to wait for the research to be completed and published, before assessing its value and seeing what other evidence they cite.

@herkybird: Lack of literary sources? You mean all those plentiful literary sources from Viking Age Scandinavia?

Never mind, eh. I thought some might find it interesting food for thought.

Sundance16 Oct 2016 2:58 p.m. PST

I think what herky meant was that there are no descriptions of the Viking halls in the literary sources.

Mako1116 Oct 2016 6:17 p.m. PST

I'm guessing, natural wood and stone color.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Oct 2016 9:07 p.m. PST

Probably a lighter flesh color ----?????
sorry-- never mind.

GarrisonMiniatures16 Oct 2016 11:34 p.m. PST

Vikings are supposed to have liked red, so that's possible. On the other hand, Medieval houses tended to use a lime wash on the outside, so that's another possibility. White inside would have the added advantage of reflecting light so making the halls feel a bit lighter.

Benvartok17 Oct 2016 9:25 p.m. PST

It depends on whether they were going for a retro or minimalist look? Try Grand Designs Dark Ages season 3 for some inspiration.

Miniaturepainter19 Oct 2016 1:39 p.m. PST

From Denmark. The houses I have seen….wood…old grey. The colours might have come from tapestries. Shields hanging under the roofs…

jowady19 Oct 2016 5:07 p.m. PST

Well I doubt the colors came from shields or tapestries since the pigments are in the wood.

cazador19 Apr 2017 11:39 a.m. PST


Chazzmak20 Apr 2017 9:52 a.m. PST

Only an assumption on my part, but based on the ornateness and craftsmanship of existing grave goods, jewelry, tools, and weapons, I should think they would carry over this creativity and decoration to their structures. Also living in a rather austere environment, there might be a predilection for colour on their living quarters. The women may have influenced this. (My wife made me paint our kitchen a horrid green! ostensibly to "bring the outdoors in" whatever that means.)but I digress. Would they have painted their ships ?

Great War Ace20 Apr 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

It's gloomy inside, right? Anything to lighten the gloom would be employed. As today, you had lazy good for nothings with generations of accumulated soot all over everything. And you had OC "spring cleaners" who would not let anyone rest until the grime was scrubbed away, the tapestries shaken/beaten out, every last speck of dust mopped/wiped down and extinguished. And if scrubbing with lime (whatever) would lighten wood and stone surfaces, you can bet that that chore would be assigned until impending collapse……..

bilsonius20 Apr 2017 4:09 p.m. PST

If the parts came from Ikea, wouldn't they be white?

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2017 7:28 a.m. PST

I'm betting that the insides were limewashed or some sort of chalked white wash to give some lightness and reflection to the light from cooking fires, lanterns and candles. Easy enough to come up with, and certainly it's been noted in Celtic round houses and other early European structures.

As to the exteriors, red washes, white washes and some other washes, especially yellow washes were also easy enough to make in that period, and could be applied during the spring after the rains had ceased and left to fade through the year and then reapplied the next spring, etc. It would act as a bit of a preservative to the wood, adding some years to the life of the structure.

No reason to think that it wouldn't have been done, as the technology for it was known.

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