Winsor & Newton

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Winsor & Newton
IndustryArt materials
Founded1832; 191 years ago (1832) in London
FounderWilliam Winsor and Henry Newton
Area served
Productsacrylics, oils, watercolor, gouache, brushes, canvases, papers, inks, graphite and colored pencils, markers, charcoal
BrandsArtist's Hog, Azanta, Winton, Cotman, Monarch, Artisan, Sceptre
ParentColart Group[1]

Winsor & Newton (also abbreviated W&N) is an English manufacturing company based in London that produces a wide variety of fine art products, including acrylics, oils, watercolour, gouache, brushes, canvases, papers, inks, graphite and coloured pencils, markers, and charcoals.


Winsor & Newton ad in The Photographic Journal, 1914

The company was founded in 1832 by William Winsor and Henry Newton. The firm was originally located at Henry Newton's home in 38 Rathbone Place, London. This was then part of an artists' quarter in which a number of eminent painters, including Constable, had studios, and other colourmen were already established.[2]

The standards of quality for W&N's most renowned line of kolinsky sable brush, the Series 7, began after Queen Victoria ordered it should be "the very finest watercolour brush" in 1866.[2] A few months before his death, Henry Newton sold the business to the newly incorporated firm of "Winsor & Newton Ltd.", which included members of both families amongst the shareholders. In 1937, W&N introduced its gouache paints.[2]

The company moved to Wealdstone in northwest London in 1937. After World War II, W&N opened a brush-making factory in Lowestoft. In 1970, the company introduced its first range of acrylics, and the first artists' alkyd oil colour came six years later. Later, in 1992, a series of oil bars were launched.[2]

The company was formerly owned by conglomerate Reckitt & Colman until it was sold in 1990.[3][4]

The Winsor & Newton student range of watercolours was named after John Sell Cotman.


Art products made by Winsor & Newton, distinguished by size, series, material and function (e.g. effects or process).[5]

Ink bottle
Product Range / brand
Brushes Natural hair (kolinsky sable -Series 7, squirrel, hog -Artist's Hog, Azanta, Winton), synthetic fibres (Cotman, Monarch, Artisan, Galeria), natural/synthetic mix (Sceptre)
Paints Oil (Winton, Artist's, Griffin Artisan), acrylic (Galeria, Finity), watercolour (Cotman, Artist's), gouache (Designers), marker pens (Promarker), (Promarker Brush), (Promarker Watercolour), charcoal, graphite and coloured pencils
Inks Drawing and calligraphy inks
Papers Watercolour, oil (Winton), acrylic (Galeria), marker, sketching
Canvas Cotton, polycotton
Accessories Canvas boards, solvents, masking fluids, varnishes, easels, travel bags, brush holders, stools, instructional books

In popular culture[edit]

Water mixable oil colours

The Winsor & Newton paints are repeatedly referenced in Dorothy Sayers' 1931 detective novel Five Red Herrings, whose plot deals with a painter being murdered and six other painters being suspected of killing him. The painting habits of the suspects, including which kind of paint is used by each, turn out to provide crucial clues that eventually lead Lord Peter Wimsey to the real culprit.

In Michel Bussi's 2011 detective novel Black Waterlilies (French: Nymphéas Noirs) set in Giverny, "Winsor and Newton" is frequently referenced, although it is imagined to be an American, rather than a British, company.

Karlheinz Stockhausen and his studio assistants read product names from the Winsor & Newton catalogue aloud in his electronic composition Hymnen.


External links[edit]