Lapis Lazuli Single Watercolour Pan


Forget chemical dyes and and synthetic fillers - these watercolours are made according to methods dating back to the Renaissance by Florence-based mom n' pop shop Zecchi, famous amongst artists for their top quality supplies. This vibrant blue was originally known as ultramarine which literally translates to across the water for its distant and rare appeal. Made from the precious mineral lapis lazuli, it was traditionally used only to paint the Madonna's dress in church frescoes. 

In “Il Libro dell’Arte”, a 14th century handbook of painting techniques, author Cennino Cennini described the “pastello”, or paste, treatment of lapis lazuli. The rock was ground into a fine powder and then mixed with pine resin, gum mastic, and beeswax. Wrapped in cloth and left for several weeks, it was then mixed with rain water or diluted lye, with the lazurite particles adhering to the binder and becoming the paint colour known as ultramarine. Modern methods today are employed to mix this rich mineral watercolour artisanally in a factory outside Montepulciano according to Zecchi’s recipe which strives to include the least amount of additives, maintaining the purity of the pigments.

Aside from its historical appeal, this paint is highly pigmented, lightfast and long-lasting. Mixed in Tuscany with only a few ingredients for maximum vibrancy - distilled water, acacia honey and acacia resin, also known as gum arabic, for a truly quality artists medium.

Vegetarian: Yes
Vegan: No (contains honey as a binder)

Illustration courtesy of Claire Fletcher