Made in Britain: Mylands of London

Mylands of London is the oldest paint manufacturer in Great Britain still owned and managed by the founding family.

Dominic Myland, Managing Director of Mylands of London. Photograph by Richard Cannon.

Dominic Myland, Managing Director of Mylands of London. Photograph by Richard Cannon.

When it comes to posing for our photographer, Dominic Myland deserves a gold medal for gameness. The paint, which is known for being some of the most long-lasting, got stuck in his ears during the photo shoot. ‘It took a few days to clear it out,’ says the fourth generation of Myland son to be at the helm of the Lambeth-based firm, which is, this year, celebrating 130 years in the business. Technically, that makes Mylands the oldest paint manufacturer remaining in the same family in the country.

Dominic’s great-grandfather started life as a French polisher and he then opened a paint and wood-finishes shop and factory in Stockwell, south London. Since the 1930s, Mylands has supplied the paints for Pinewood Studios, including all the Bond films and, more recently, for the sets of Downton Abbey. ‘As a relatively small luxury-paint manufacturer, we adopt quite a simple philosophy,’ he explains.

‘We believe in the need to use the best raw materials, including natural earth pigments, which give the paint a quality and depth that you don’t get using some synthetic colours. We’re one of the few companies that does this as it’s messy and intensive.’

Prior to 2012, Mylands was a secret kept by interior designers and the trade, but the company broke through to the consumer market when it launched its Colours of London collection. It was curated by sifting through colour books from the old Oxford Street-based Thomas Parsons as well as the V&A archive and then whittling the choice down to 120 colours. ‘We use manufacturing processes that go back to the start, but with modern equipment. We have a team who match colours by eye rather than simply using a scanner—that’s unique.’

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