Temurer, Distemper and Egg Yolk – Not The Squeaky Clean Look

I was chatting with colleagues the other day about how our way of doing all domestic tasks has changed – although we don’t necessarily see these changes without careful thought about our processes.   Take decorating for example, in the days well before even my parents started doing up their houses, distemper was the usual cover for walls.  These days it is descibed as historical medium for painting pictures andis contrasted with tempera which is also a paint finish but involves egg yolk originally and is very hard wearing and lasts centuries.   In fact, tempera was the primary material used for pictures and painting until oil paints became available in the 1500s.    The painting of walls though was mostly with soft distemper which formed a basic whitewash.   Colours could be achieved by adding dyes and herbs but these generally only gave temporary finish.  And it was none too safe, having rather a large ratio of lead in its manufacture!  One had to get used to the basic decorators tools in thoses days.  Today we have myriad of decoraing materials at our disposal and no one needs to go those lengths these days.