Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D , Case BECK, Shelf 3, Box 21

This object consists of 18 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Tools and Materials

ca. 1800-ca. 1830 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Animal bladders were used from the early 1600s to store paint. However, in the 1830s they were superseded by collapsible metal tubes, which made oil paints more portable and made it significantly easier for artists to paint from nature. This bladder contains Prussian blue, one of the earliest and most important synthetic pigments. This deep, unfading blue was adopted by artists across Europe and as far afield as Japan.

This paint bladder comes from a box of seventeen skins of paint known as 'Turner's paintbox' for no apparent reason other than that it dates from the early 19th century. There is no evidence to suggest that Turner actually used it.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 18 parts.

  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
  • Tools and Materials
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  • Tools and Materials
Materials and Techniques
Animal bladder
Brief Description
Metal Paint-Box, containing 17 skins of paint.

Known as 'Turner's Paint Box' for no apparent reason other than that it dates from the early nineteenth century. See RP.3822 (Bedford).
Physical Description
Metal paint box.

The paint bladder, which still contains Prussian blue pigment, is wrapped with string around the neck. A small paper tag with the printed name of the pigment is affixed to the string binding.
Dimensions
  • Whole box height: 5.2cm (Note: Individual openings inside measure 3.8 cm x 3.8cm)
  • Whole box width: 23.3cm
  • Whole box depth: 12cm
  • Ext 1 height: 4cm
  • Ext 1 width: 3.5cm (Note: approximate, at widest point)
  • Ext 12 height: 4cm
  • Ext 12 width: 3.5cm
  • Ext 12 depth: 2.5cm
  • Ext 13 height: 4.5cm
  • Ext 13 width: 3.5cm
  • Ext 13 depth: 3.5cm
  • Ext 16 height: 4.5cm
  • Ext 16 width: 3.5cm
  • Ext 16 depth: 3.5cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'Prussian Blue' (Printed on the small paper tag which adheres to the string binding the neck of the bladder.)
Object history
This paint bladder comes from a metal paintbox (P.65-1920) containing seventeen skins of paint. The box is known as 'Turner's paintbox' for no apparent reason, other than that it dates from the early 19th century. There is no evidence that Turner used the box or the paints therein.



Historical significance: The Prussian blue paint contained in this bladder was one of the earliest, and most significant, synthetic pigments. The influence of its deep, brilliant colour and its relative invulnerability to fading reached as far as Japan.
Historical context
Animal bladders were used to store paint from the early 1600s. By the early 1830s, they were superseded by metal tubes, which were more easily portable and made painting en plein air a tenable option for an increasing number of artists. However, a pioneering artist like John Constable managed to produce his revolutionary oil sketches from nature using paint stored in bladders.
Subject depicted
Summary
Animal bladders were used from the early 1600s to store paint. However, in the 1830s they were superseded by collapsible metal tubes, which made oil paints more portable and made it significantly easier for artists to paint from nature. This bladder contains Prussian blue, one of the earliest and most important synthetic pigments. This deep, unfading blue was adopted by artists across Europe and as far afield as Japan.



This paint bladder comes from a box of seventeen skins of paint known as 'Turner's paintbox' for no apparent reason other than that it dates from the early 19th century. There is no evidence to suggest that Turner actually used it.
Collection
Accession Number
P.65:1-1920

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record createdNovember 3, 2005
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