Door Detail

Wood graining reached the height of sophistication in the 19th Century inspired by the popularity of expensive tropical wood. The Victorians loved making the ordinary appear extraordinary, especially when they could not afford the extraordinary.

Known as trompe l’oeil or ‘to trick the eye’, wood graining was an elaborate paint technique that simulated the quality of hardwood. This involved a skilled craftsman pulling a layer of tinted glaze over a painted surface using a toothed tool and then varnishing it.

This technique was used in College Green House, when Hearth came to restore the property the Victorians also chose to employ it as a way to upgrade inexpensive doors.


Tropical hardwoods are often in danger of being over forested and face extinction, their use is not sustainable. Employing a technique, such as woodgraining, to turn a piece of furniture from a sustainable source into something special helps reduce the destruction of delicate forest ecosystems.