Utrecht

Utrecht is a retail art supply chain headquartered in Cranbury, NJ and with stores throughout the USA. They make a line of good quality and inexpensive watercolor paints and offer several lines of watercolor brushes, available only through their retail outlets or their direct order web site.

Kolinsky - The Utrecht 221 "Vermeer" kolinsky round brushes are less expensive than most brands listed here but very well manufactured (in Germany) with double crimped nickel ferrule and a black lacquered hardwood handle (total length of the #12 brush is 23.8cm). The tuft is slightly stiff, 31mm long and 27mm around at the ferrule in the #12; when wet the belly is 9mm. The hairs are tightly packed and require an energetic snap to come to a slightly ragged "needle" point, which in the smaller sizes does not hold a good point during use. But the brush handles very well, releases paint evenly, and cleans up nicely. Utrecht does not offer sable flats. Rounds are sized from #000 to #12. Prices: #6, US$16.55; #12, US$67.00.

Other Sable - The Utrecht 225 red sable round is made with nickel ferrules and dark maroon lacquered hardwood handles. These "natural sable" brushes are inexpensive and decently made. Flats are not available. Sizes range from #0 to #10. Prices: #6, US$7.10, #10, US$22.30.

Blends - The Utrecht 238 red sable blend round is made of red sable and nylon fiber. The brushes also made in Germany with gold tipped, black lacquered wood handles and double crimped nickel plated brass ferrules (total length of the #12 is 23.8cm). The tuft has the typical "cylindrical" shape of most inexpensive blend and synthetic rounds, with fine hairs and a very soft tip. These are no more expensive than many pure synthetic brushes, but add a extra bit of sable responsiveness. Sizes range from #0 to #12. Prices: #6, US$5.15; #12, US$13.90.

Synthetics - The Utrecht 1162 sabelette flat is an acrylic flat offered in only three sizes: 1/2", 3/4" and 1" (total length of the 1" brush is 23.0cm). These are made of "sabelette" nylon filament, and are softer than many acrylic brushes I've used, and they hold a good charge of paint. Prices: 1/2", US$5.70; 1", US$11.80.

The Utrecht 228 sabelette round ranges in size from #0 to #12. Prices: #6, US$2.60; #12, US$5.10.

Utrecht 221 Vermeer kolinsky rounds (#6 & #12); Utrecht 223 ox hair flats (1/2" & 1")


Utrecht squirrel mop #10; Utrecht 222 sabeline #9; Utrecht 224 oxhair #9; Utrecht 238 red sable round #10; Utrecht 743 squirrel mop; Utrecht 229 sabelette #8

Other - The Utrecht 222 sabeline round is made in Germany with double crimped aluminum ferrules on black wood handles. They do not point well so there is little reason to buy them over the even cheaper ox hair rounds. They only come in four sizes: #4, #7, #9 and #11. Prices: #7, US$4.00; #11, US$7.40.

The Utrecht 223 ox hair flat brush is made in Sri Lanka with a double crimped nickel ferrule and dark maroon hardwood handle (total length of the 1" brush is 23.0cm). These have a plushy tuft that carries a lot of water, yet a relaxed resiliency that allows very gentle manipulation of wash textures. Comes in four sizes (1/4", 1/2", 3/4" and 1"). Prices: 1/2", US$4.00; 1", US$8.60.

The Utrecht 224 ox hair round brush is made in Sri Lanka with a double crimped aluminum ferrule and black hardwood handle (total length of the 1" brush is 23.0cm). These have a plushy tuft that carries a lot of water, yet a relaxed resiliency that allows very gentle manipulation of wash textures. Comes in sizes #2, #4, #7, #9, #11 and #16. Prices: #7, US$3.50; #11, US$5.90.

Finally, the Utrecht 226 camel hair round brush is the bargain basement natural hair brush, made in Sri Lanka of black squirrel hair, a double crimped nickel plated ferrule and dark blue hardwood handle (total length of the #11 brush is 23.0cm). These are good for a wide range of watermedia work, although they don't come to a point. Comes in sizes #1 to #12. Prices: #6, US$2.00; #12, US$3.90.

Utrecht offers many other styles of watercolor brushes; check their web site or mail catalog for details. With the exception of the kolinsky brushes, which are a real bargain in the current art supplies market, Utrecht brushes are not highest quality in any category, but they also never ask the highest price. They are good value for occasional or rough work, and building out a beginner or field brush set for a modest cost. Definitely worth a look.