Rare 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 12 tubes of rare pigments; sourced from around the world each has been carefully selected for it's unique quality. Many of these natural pigments can be found in artworks since antiquity but have sadly faded out of use thanks to advances in synthetic pigment production. Enjoy the vibrant textures of these highly specialised and naturally made watercolours. 


Material: 12 watercolour 5ml tubes
Included: 12 colours in small cardboard box
Vegetarian: yes
Vegan: No (contains honey binder)

Each pigment has a special story and has been lovingly been sourced by Rebecca and Pip - here is some background to each colour. 

Stil de Grain; formerly known as 'pinke', this transparent yellow is rich and warm. Made from buckhorn berries which are processed by hand, it is rare to find this natural pigment (which is not out of place on medieval illuminated manuscripts) in modern paint recipes.

Kendal Green; this soft light green is a blend of Ginesta and Indigo which are milled together to create this bespoke natural green, used locally in textile production in the Kent Valley, Westmoreland. The colour varies batch to batch and when used the indigo blue tends to show through over time as the yellow component fades. 

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. 

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

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.

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. 

Manganese Blue - hue; a colour last produced by potters in the 1980's, this hue is the special formula of Wallace Seymour and is based on a unique PB15 pigment with a crystalline structure. A bright, glowing cyan which is transparent and granulates as a wash. 

Magnetite; a magnetic rock mineral which is crushed to a soft, dense powder with a very high tinting strength. A unique semi-opaque black pigment, it breaks and warps when used as wash, revealing remarkable formations.  

Terra Bianca; a natural Italian white earth pigment which is soft and yellow-white in appearance. 

Vermillion; Like its counterpart Cinnabar, this gentle yet bright red has been essential pigment to the artist's palette for centuries. It is dense and opaque with good covering power. 

Volkonskoite Green; A dark forest green which is very lightfast, sourced from clay-bearing sandstones in Russia. Excellent transparency; slightly granular.

Cobalt Celeste; although Cobalt has been a beloved pigment since the impressionist movement, this particular shade is in fact grade of Cerulean Blue made especially for Wallace Seymour, this unique shade is based on a complex of fused metals: cobalt, zinc, tin and silver.