British Earth Natural Pigments Watercolour Set


Much like making gnocchi, where you want as little flour as possible - making good watercolour should involve the bare minimum of ingredients, by passing fillers and additives, revealing each pigment's own unadulterated expression in colour and texture. It is indeed in the face of declining quality and increased mass manufacture that two artists, Rebecca Wallace and Pip Seymour, began making paints to their own tastes and recipes looking to emulate art materials from the past, with more variable grain and natural appearance.

Produced from the finest ingredients, Sudanese gum arabic and Italian Acacia honey and many rare, unusual and including now defunct pigments, the paint sets presented here are built around a common origin - either geographical place or material compound, to provoke more consideration for pigment, its history and effect in art history, as well as a starting point for artistic exploration of colour. 

Here presented are 8 tubes of earth pigments collected from the British isles. These are left ground to a higher micron particle size conducive to granulation, a phenomenon highly prized by many watercolourists whereby the pigment opens-up and splits adding layers of texture. Recommended for portraiture and still life drawings. 

Material: 8 British earth origin watercolour 5ml tubes 
Included: 8 colours in small cardboard box
Vegetarian: Yes
Vegan: No (contains honey binder)

Torridon Sandstone; this semi-transparent soft pink is native to the Scottish highlands, the sandstone yielded from a working quarry in Wester Ross. 

Oxford Bluestone Green Earth; the British answer to 'terre verte'; a colour used since antiquity, often for underpainting lighter flesh tones to neutralise the effects of pinks and reds. It is hand dug and carefully processed to produce this unique, transparent tone. Heavy granulation. 

Scottish Red Granite; another pigment native to Wester Ross, Scotland, made from finely ground red granite. Semi-transparent, stable and lightfast. 

Rudstone, natural iron-clay ochre; found in North Yorkshire, the clay is compressed by water to form hard cakes which were formally used for sheep marking. A semi-transparent reddish earth brown; ochre is in fact a prehistoric pigment not out of place in cave paintings. 

Davy's Grey; named after 19th century artist and engraver Henry Davy, this gentle green-grey is very transparent and is often used to moderate strong colours and control staining pigments. The mudstone is extracted from a working quarry in North Oxfordshire and then carefully pulverised.

Florence Red; Fine hematite iron ore is mined at the now closed Florence mine at Egremont, Cumbria. A rich, earthy red with high tinting strength. 

Ingleton Green Earth; A gentle and cold pale green which is semi-transparent with excellent granulation. Milled at a working quarry in Ingleton the hard rock is then pulverised into a fine powder.  

Illustration courtesy of Claire Fletcher