Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Winsor and Newton artists watercolour tubes, a testament to longevity.

Last Sunday I bought some tubes Winsor and Newton artist quality watercolour tubes that dated from before 1971, as they were all over forty years old – I could tell this because they had prices pencilled on them in old and new money – so they had been sold then, I didn’t expect them to much practical use.

One had split and had gone completely hard, several of the rest had a small plug that had gone hard just behind the cap, which I had to pick out, but to my astonishment they all contain usable and very high quality watercolour paint. 

I don’t usually aspire to artist’s quality paint, so this is a gift from the gods as it were. There were also about seven Rowney tubes from the same period only two of these hadn’t gone hard


  1. Ah, they don't make 'em like they used to, that's what I always say.

  2. Will they contain lead? Lead has been banned in household paint since 1978 but I am not sure about artidt paints.

  3. John I don’t have many recent artist quality watercolours and with the only three that are the same colours as ones in the tubes I bought, I can’t find any difference in quality between the new ones and the old ones.

    8.47 there are and always have been poisonous watercolour paints, you can buy non toxic watercolour and I would recommend this for young children.

    I haven’t heard of watercolours that contain lead and I think the most poisonous ingredients would be cadmium and cobalt, artists quality oil paints do contain lead, the main one used for a base coat “Flake White” in particular, I haven’t used oil paint for about forty years, so I don’t know if this applies now.

    My understanding is that you can only get poisoned by artist quality paint if you eat it, the odd bit I have tasted by accident doesn’t taste very nice.

  4. Where in the world were you able to purchase 1971 watercolours from?????


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