Wednesday 22 February 2017

Wallace-Seymour 18th Century Watercolours 'Four Humors' life drawing set

Well, I was kind of blown away by these and I've found myself playing with them 3-4 times since I recorded my review 24h ago! 

Wallace-Seymour created these paints in a facsimile of an 18th century watercolour vehicle - viz. gum tragacanth, gum senegal and honey. If you want to know more about these gums, look at my post on their Early Watercolours line. They are hand-formed into rounds and a depression is made in the top for one's water to go into - which retains the thumbprint of the person who made them- and then left to air dry. I refer to these as "watercolour rounds" since they're not like pans or even in pans! Wallace-Seymour calls them 'discs' but I don't like that tbh as they're much less regular or industrial, which is what 'disc' implies to me.

They sell these in 3 sets and they are not available as open stock. You can only get them from Turners Art Supplies - I've added pigment information where I know it, and you can download a full breakdown of this pigment information with detailed annotations and lightfastness of the pigments and so on, as a convenient PDF reference list.
The Turner Palette (£96.00, 12 rounds). This set is designed to replicate Turner's palette, and comprises:
Gamboge Natural (NY24 Gamboge); Burgundy Yellow Ochre (PY43 Natural Yellow Iron Oxide); Burgundy Apricot Ochre; Burgundy Red Ochre; Madder Lake Natural (NR8 Alizarin Crimson); Blue Verditer; Oxford Mudstone (Davy's Grey); Azurite (PB30 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural); Ultramarine Ashes (PB29 Ultramarine, from lapis lazuli); Indigo Natural (NB1 Indigo); Green Earth (natural clay from Oxfordshire, UK); Malachite (PG39 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural).
The Grand Tour Palette (£120.00, 12 rounds). This set is inspired by colours one might see on the traditional 'grand tour' of Europe that many 18th century artists took:
Gamboge Natural (NY24 Gamboge); Oxford Ochre (natural clay collected in Oxfordshire, UK); Oxford Bluestone; Oxford Mudstone (Davy's Grey); Madder Lake Natural (NR8 Alizarin Crimson); Cinnabar Natural (from Tuscany); Vermillion Genuine (PR106 Vermillion, Genuine); Bloodstone Grey (mix of Oxford Mudstone, Hematite (PR102) and Lapis Lazuli (PB29), essentially a mimic of Payne's Grey); Indigo Natural (NB1 Indigo); Malachite (PG39 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural); Azurite (PB30 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural); Lapis Lazuli (PB29 Ultramarine, natural).
The Four Humors Set (£24.00, 4 rounds). This set is inspired by body fluids! Back in the day, medics believed that the emotions were caused by the specific volumes of four liquids (humors) in the body - and having too much of any lead to an affliction: Blood, Yellow Bile, Black Bile and Phlegm - which we still hear today in the form of four personality types: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic! This set is really intended for life-drawing and it invokes the 3 colours (sanguine, black and white) of the en trois crayons style, popular with the Old Masters in their studies [one draws in sanguine then adds high and lowlights with the white and black, respectively], with the addition of an ochre.
Sarti White (PW18 Chalk), Vine Black (PBk8), Burgundy Yellow Ochre (PY43 Natural Yellow Iron Oxide), Cumbrian Red Hematite (PR102 Natural Red Iron Oxide).

I bought the 'Four Humours' set out of my (well, my business!) own pocket for this review - Turners Of Manchester and Wallace-Seymour have no affiliation to me and I don't get any commission on sales - so this review is totally impartial, believe me! 

If you want to buy them, use the links on the prices in the descriptions above - if you are outside the UK, please make sure you read the buying information at the end of this post.

Like the Early Watercolours line, you need to activate them with hot water by adding a little to the depression on the top. I recommend you do that with a pipette or a synthetic brush you know is ok with hot water (squirrel mops and anything with goat hair WILL shed if you put them in hot water!). After about 5-10 minutes, the paint softens and a bit of gentle mixing in the well with a synthetic brush (don't ruin a sable one!) will loosen the paint and form a strong wash. As you use this up, just keep adding more warm water, though to be honest, after a while, cold water is just fine.

The colours - oh my! It's not often I get excited by a yellow ochre but this one has amazing texture and is more like a Gold Ochre really - it has an inner light and warmth. The white is very pale but don't be fooled - it dries more opaque by far - and it makes lovely mixes with the other colours. The sanguine red is a beautiful granulating and very red colour - less brown than many sanguines and again, SO much depth! The vine black - this was a shock to me - it's a deep, dark indigo blue and has a lot of texture. You can actually use them as three earth primaries!!! The earth yellow and earth red make a good, Burnt Sienna-type earth orange; the earth yellow and earth blue make a Terre Verte-like earth green and the earth red and the earth blue make a beautiful soft lavender-grey. So much experimenting still to do though!!! The pigment load is REALLY high and these are going to last me a very long time, which at £6 per round, which I think each is equivalent to 2-3 full-pans, they are amazing value. Pip and Rebecca have put a lot of work into some beautiful products that I've honestly loved using and they feel like a labour of love: they only sell through small businesses like Turners Art Supplies or L. Cornelissen & Son, and they don't hike the price up without reason - they seem to have a small but very loyal following and I count myself amongst that.

You can find out more and see me doodling with them in my video review, which is at the bottom of this post.

If you want to buy these paints...
...then you need to visit the Cornelissen website and buy them from there. If you wanted the 18th Century, Vintage or Artists' lines, you will need to visit Turners Art Materials (who WILL ship outside of the UK but you will need to contact them by EMAIL and NOT place an order on the website - if you run into issues, you can tell them that The Spin Doctor had confirmation from them on Twitter 21st February 2017 - if need be, you can show them their own tweet which I've linked.).
Alternatively, if you're interested in any of the Wallace-Seymour mediums for oil painting, you can buy them from Jackson's in the UK, which ship worldwide, I believe.

You can also buy Pip Seymour's fantastic book The Artist's Handbook from Amazons UK, USA or Canada - but don't worry if these widgets show crazy prices, there are usually more reasonable ones once you get to the website.

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