Winsor & Newton

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Winsor & Newton
Industry Art materials
Founded 1832; 185 years ago (1832) in London
Founder William Winsor
Henry Newton
Headquarters England
Area served
Products Oils, alkyds, watercolours, acrylics, pastels, artists' brushes, canvases, papers
Brands Cotman
Parent ColArt[1]

Winsor & Newton (W&N) is a company based in London, UK that manufactures a wide variety of fine art products, including: oils, alkyds, watercolours, acrylics, pastels, artists' brushes, canvases, papers, portfolios, and distributes the Derwent pencil sets.


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.[3] 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 Winsor & Newton student range of watercolours was named after John Sell Cotman.


The art products made by Winsor & Newton:[4]

Ink bottle by Winsor & Newton
Product Range
Brushes Sable, hog, and synthetic hairs
Paints Oil, acrylic, watercolour, gouache
Paint sticks Oil, watercolour
Inks Drawing and calligraphy inks
Papers Watercolour, ink
Canvas N/A
Accessories Canvas boards, solvents, masking fluids, varnishes

In popular culture[edit]

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]