Home Chat Country Creatures Design Series: Little Greene Paint Co

Country Creatures Design Series: Little Greene Paint Co

At Country Creatures we are proud of the British producers and designers that we use in the refurbishment of our properties. The Double Red Duke (due to open in February 2021) is undergoing a major renovation programme utilising the very best of British manufacturing. We work with people we know and trust. Our Country Creatures Design Series showcases the skill and incredible workmanship of these brilliant companies. For part three in our series we are shining a spotlight on Little Greene Paint Co, an independent, British paint manufacturer, committed to the socially and environmentally responsible production of high quality paints and wallpapers. We have painted all of the interiors of the Double Red Duke in Little Greene Paint as their depth of colour and palettes never fail to produce a superior and perfect finish across the Country Creatures pubs and inns.

Little Greene paints have a reassuringly high pigment levels (over 40% more pigment than many ordinary paints), which give the paints an unequalled depth of colour and a true point of difference.

We caught up with Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director and asked a few questions

Can you tell us a bit about the background and history of Little Green Paints?

Little Greene is an independent, British paint manufacturer, committed to the socially and environmentally responsible production of high-quality paints and wallpapers. With records dating back to the year 1773, the Little Greene Dye Works of Collyhurst Wood, on the outskirts of Manchester is one of England’s most ancient industrial sites for the making of paints and dye solutions. Little Greene use many of the materials that were used in the past to make high quality paints today. The Earl of Derby granted rights for the use of the site as a ‘house producing colours’ in the 18th century. Joshua Rowlands, the earliest identifiable proprietor of the works, led the development of traditional paints for domestic and industrial use, drawing upon his experience of making dye solutions for the cotton trade. The site extracted colour from exotic woods, natural resins and pigments to create the early paints. The early paints would have been based on natural resins and pigments, similar in many ways to those used by the great artists of old. The development of synthetic compounds for the colouring of materials during the 19th century provided faster and more efficient production; however, many of them were proven not to be as safe or as good as the ones they replaced. Little Greene continue to incorporate many of the materials used in the past for the preparation of the very high-quality paints we make today and are particularly proud of our paints’ depth of colour.

Little Greene, as we know it today, was founded by qualified scientist and visionary entrepreneur David Mottershead, who has been joined in the business by his son Ben and daughter Ruth, making Little Greene very much a family affair. Ruth Mottershead recalls that “Colour has always been a huge part of the Mottershead family life. Little Greene was certainly something that evolved from our home and our family life, and one of the first colour cards was actually produced around the kitchen table.”

We recently moved to a new, purpose-built, carbon-neutral Manchester headquarters, located a little further down the road from the original site but standing proudly in the heart of an area with a rich and envied manufacturing pedigree.

Today we offer a range of paint collections, bringing together the most useful and beautiful luxury paint colours from all the key periods in the history of decoration. Alongside beautiful paint collections, Little Greene offer a range of wallpapers that perfectly complement our paint palette. Each collection resurrects designs found in forgotten archives, employing specialist printing methods on the finest grade papers to give the wallpapers their sophisticated textures, elegant appearance, durability and longevity.

Country Creatures is proud to support British Industry and Designers. Can you tell us about Little Greene Paint Company and what you think is the secret to your success?

All our paints and wallpapers are manufactured in the UK and we actively source from suppliers who can match our requirements for high quality and commitment to local industries. We’re dedicated to minimising pollution, energy consumption and distribution overheads whilst supporting the local business community.

Little Greene paints are made using premium quality raw materials and highly pigmented formulations meaning the products are high in opacity providing fantastic coverage, making them practical, beautiful and economical. We continue to make interior and exterior paints in water-based and oil-based finishes and are the only British paint maker still producing a complete range of traditional and modern finishes. Our colour offer whilst being inspired by historical reference has been carefully refined to reflect current trends without compromising the integrity of Little Greene’s signature palette. Confident colour is absolutely central to Little Greene; we work to provide a palette designed to meet a growing appetite for timeless colour that’s both easy to choose and a pleasure to live with.

All Little Greene colourcard collections are designed with the user in mind; the structure and special arrangement of colours are set into an intuitive array giving the consumer an enjoyable and engaging route when embarking upon the task of choosing colour for the home.

Could you guide us through the process of colour development and paint production?

Little Greene is proud to produce environmentally-friendly finishes for every application, ethically manufactured in a traditional paint factory in the foothills of Snowdonia. Our paints are lovingly crafted using the highest quality ingredients, clever formulations and complex colour recipes, with no compromise on quality or performance. Our water-based paints far exceed all legislation on VOCs and our oil-based paints have been formulated to use naturally-occurring vegetable oils. In addition, all packaging, including the metal cans, contains recycled materials and can be recycled again upon disposal. Little Greene’s manufacturing philosophy is based on a unique blend of art and science – this polyglot approach to manufacturing enables us to use sophisticated computer developments in our laboratories  to produce very advanced paints at the same time as allowing our colourists to bring forth beautiful colour combinations made by hand in our own factory.

One of the most exciting areas is creating concepts and ideas for upcoming paint and wallpaper collections, choosing colours for new cards and browsing archives at the National Trust for new wallpaper collections. For the new Stone collection, which continues our collaboration with the National Trust, and presents a versatile palette of natural colours offering warmth, tranquility and timelessness, the initial stages involved the collection of data from various sources: taking many trips to National Trust properties armed with a Spectrophotometer (a device for measuring and storing colour) and a trusty small knife to take paint samples. The paint samples are then set as cross sections to try and delve into the past whilst the data from the Spectrophotometer is downloaded. This way of working and the subsequent colour mixing is a great example of mixing old and new techniques. The Spectrophotometer is fantastic and a very useful tool as it essentially collects and digitises the colour. It is a far more practical operation than trying to hand mix colours with a palette on site. The traditional method comes in the mixing of the colours, which are meticulously re-created and samples made. We take great care in the formulation of these colours and try to keep them looking as close to the originals as possible. There is now software that can match colours but we find that they can never re-create the human intuition of colour mixing and that the traditional method of ‘a little of this, a little of that’, still reaps the best results.

We always strive to create beautiful colours and quality products, to the best of our knowledge and ability. Working hard to adapt to our business needs in all areas of the company in order to create products we hope our customers will enjoy and love as much as we do.

Explore more

Back to News & Blog


Spritz season is here! #DoubleRedDuke
Keeping everytihng crossed that we will be dining al fresco this weekend! #CountryCreatures
Seeking a little calm from the winds this afternoon? Nestle inside at The Duke #CountryCreatures
The first sunny day of Spring and there's only one thing for it! Long afternoons in the @doubleredduke gardens #CountryCreatures
We're all for tucking ourselves away in a cosy corner of the @DoubleRedDuke today! #CountryCreatures
Where Mondays are best enjoyed from! #DoubleRedDuke