Mineral Origin 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, bypassing 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 mineral pigments many of which are conducive to granulation, a phenomenon highly prized by many watercolourists whereby the pigment opens-up and splits adding layers of texture. 

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

Cinnabar; a bright, strong vermillion made from crushed Cinnabar 'strawberries' - mineral deposits found at the Tuscan volcano Monte Amiata. This colour was used as the principal red in painting until the 20th century and the introduction of Cadmium red. NB: Cinnabar is toxic if burnt or ingested. Don’t ingest and wear gloves to avoid contact, use with care by adults only.

Malachite; thought to be the oldest known green pigment this bright, semi-opaque colour comes from copper carbonate which is carefully prepared from premium Malachite. Used in Egyptian tombs, this mineral has also, in former times, been found far closer to home in the Copper Mines Valley at Coniston.   

Azurite; A deep, bright and semi-opaque blue made from natural copper carbonate - only stones of the highest quality are carefully ground, washed and then sieved by hand to produce this which was once the most important blue throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Lapis Lazuli; a gentle mid-shade of the more commonly known ultramarine colour, this South American Lapis is a pure, clean pigment. Historically rare and often seen as sacred, Lapis is often found on the dress of the Madonna. 

Vivianite, blue ochre; First discovered in the 19th century at Wheal Kind, Cornwall, this particular Vivianite is from the Black Sea; a natural blue-violet earth shade, it is slightly granular, very lightfast and semi-transparent. 

Rubies; a delicate and gentle crystalline pink which is specially prepared from mineral Ruby. The translucent stone is carefully powered to make this watercolour.

Thuilite; also known as rosaline, this pale lilac shade is hand processed from a gemstone first discovered in 19th century Norway, named after the mythical island Thule. It is very lightfast and semi-translucent.

Lapis Ashesthe residue from lapis lazuli production creates a soft blue-grey pigment. Used by the masters for a middle tint in flesh and skies, it is very stable and gently transparent. 

Illustration courtesy of Claire Fletcher