Hvis vægge kunne tale: En farveundersøgelse af kældervæggene i det tidligere Statsfængsel i Horsens

Michael Højlund Rasmussen, Anne Katrine Nagel Christensen

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As part of the research for an exhibition, an architectural paint research project was executed in the basement under the former State Prison in Horsens in 2018-19. The research showed that cells and cell blocks originally had been painted with limewash or distemper, which later had been replaced by oil paint. Furthermore there was a certain consensus of the colors used, primarily light colors: green, blue and yellow. This led us to question whether or not there existed a certain manual of how a cell or a cell block should be designed or whether the interior could be a result of ideology, practicality, psychological or hygienic reasons.
Consulting contemporary descriptions made by the prison administration, visitors, and newspaper discussions, we learned that the change from limewash to oil paint happened around 1913, primarily due to hygienic reasons. Especially the threat of tuberculosis was essential. This was confirmed by a more general, international discussion at the time on how cells should be designed in order to secure the physical and mental health of the prisoners.
Most sources stressed that light colors were preferred as they had a positive influence on the prisoners. In addition, there was an understanding of yellow as an elevating color and blue and green as calming colors. Our conclusion is, therefore, that the painting in the basement was a matter of practical, health and humane reasons.
Bidragets oversatte titelIf the walls could talk: An architectural paint research project of the basement walls under the former State Prison in Horsens
TidsskriftTings Tale
Udgave nummer03
Sider (fra-til)24-47
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 2021


  • Horsens
  • Farveundersøgelse
  • Statsfængsel