We don’t have an image of this object online yet. V&A Images may have a photograph that we can’t show online, but it may be possible to supply one to you. Email us at vaimages@vam.ac.uk for guidance about fees and timescales, quoting the accession number: E.1350-2001
Find out about our images

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

Box of artist's watercolours

Paintbox
19th century (Made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Wooden box with a sliding lid, with interior divisions originally containing 24 solid moulded cakes of watercolour, and a slot for paint brushes which is lined with an insert of blue paper printed in gilt letters Winsor & Newton Limited 38 Rathbone Place London.


Object details

Category
Object type
TitleBox of artist's watercolours (manufacturer's title)
Materials and techniques
Wood, paper and solid cakes of watercolour pigment
Brief description
Wooden box containing artist's watercolours in the form of decoratively moulded colour cakes, made by Winsor & Newton, with additional cakes manufactured by Reeves & Sons; Newman's, Soho Square; and Smith, Warner & Co., mid 19th century.
NOT TO BE ISSUED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM PAINTINGS SECTION
Physical description
Wooden box with a sliding lid, with interior divisions originally containing 24 solid moulded cakes of watercolour, and a slot for paint brushes which is lined with an insert of blue paper printed in gilt letters Winsor & Newton Limited 38 Rathbone Place London.
Dimensions
  • Length: 28cm
  • Width: 11.7cm
  • Depth: 2.3cm
Production typeMass produced
Marks and inscriptions
Winsor & Newton Limited 38 Rathbone Place London. (Trade mark; Letterpress; Printed on paper insert inside the box; Letterpress Printing; Gold metallic pigment)
Credit line
Given by Gerald Cinamon
Historical context
Thomas and William Reeves had introduced a new kind of watercolour pigment in the form of hard and dry compressed moulded cakes in the 1780s. Other manufacturers started producing them and they remained popular with certain artists until the late19th century. A disadvantage was that (like Chinese ink blocks used for calligraphy) the cakes or blocks needed rubbing down with water to form a suspension of watercolour before they could be used. The blocks are finely detailed and the moulds used to form them must have been made by experienced modellers. (Some Chinese ink blocks have high quality modelling as well and may well have been the prototype for Reeves's invention.) One side of the British-made blocks of colour usually had an appropriate emblematic figure or device, while the back had the name of the manufacturer; sometimes the name of the colour was moulded in as well. They are reminiscent in their detail of the Tassie casts of gems, which were perfected about 1766, although made by a completely different process. However, the first stage of the mould making process, carving a wax original, might have been the same.
Collection
Accession number
E.1350-2001

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest feedback

Record createdAugust 30, 2001
Record URL
Download as: JSON