Winsor & Newton

Winsor & Newton, headquartered in Harrow, England, is an English art supply manufacturer dating from 1832. The company originated in the trade in paints and painting supplies of the colourmen William Winsor and Henry Charles Newton, and since that time has been at the forefront of technical innovations in the manufacture and packaging of watercolors.

Winsor & Newton Watercolor papers are made exclusively for the company by Invernesk. Sheets are mouldmade, 100% cotton, internally and tub sized with gelatin, neutral pH, with two natural deckle edges, and the "Winsor & Newton" watermark (with the trademark sea lion) in the corner along one long edge. The papers have good dimensional stability; they curl gently under a wash and dry flat. The rattle is loud and bright, with a slight warble; the papers burn to a medium light gray, fibrous ash. — Papers are available in white only, in three standard finishes (R, NOT, HP), in 185, 300 and 640 GSM weights, and as sheets, sketchbooks, and watercolor blocks. Price of a single 300 GSM full sheet is about US$3.00.

Winsor & Newton papers have a fairly good separation in textures across the three available finishes. The Rough finish resembles Arches CP, but the tooth is slightly deeper, and identical on both sides of the sheet. The color is a cool middle white. The sizing is moderately heavy: the sheet took the wash smoothly and without exhausting the brush, showed slight flocculation and banding in the pigments; the magenta went on with very slight blossoming. Resists came off easily and cleanly. Scrubbing left a very slight streaking under the wash; the green lifted completely but with effort, and caused a slight sluffing but no discoloration or wicking around the repainted area. — The NOT (Cold Pressed) finish is subtly textured, good for detail but also capable of imparting some brushstroke texture. The wire side is coarser, with broader and shallower depressions in the blanket pattern. Deckles are very small and regular. The color is a slightly cool middle white. The sizing seems rather thin: the wash applied smoothly without exhausting the brush, with slight flocculation and cobalt banding and good color; the magenta went on without any blossoming. Resists came off easily and left no damage. Scrubbing left a slight streak mark under the wash; the green lifted only with difficulty and the sponging damaged the paper surface, causing gross wicking and discoloration in the repainted area. — The Hot Pressed finish is hard and heavily calendered to a dull gloss, with a coarse eggshell texture emerging after the sheet is wetted. Deckles are very small, thin and irregular. The color is a soft bright white, one of the brightest HP finishes tested. The sizing is relatively thin: the sheet took a wash easily and with a beautiful even color (absolutely no splotching or blossoming), without exhausting the brush, but showed pronounced banding in the cobalt violet and very slight flocculation in the ultramarine. The magenta blossomed slightly less than on the other HP sheets. Resists came off cleanly, leaving very crisp edges. However scrubbing left a noticeable streak mark; the green did not lift completely and the sponging caused sluffing, swelling and roughening of the paper surface and heavy wicking and darkening of the repainted area.

The Winsor & Newton watercolor blocks are manufactured with a brittle, white binding adhesive, which is more durable than the black adhesive used by Arches; but it is sometimes difficult to separate sheets with a knife. The surface is dense and relatively nonabsorbent, which shows pigment textures to good effect but also causes bronzing or streaking in heavily applied paints much more often than I'm used to.

Overall these are nice sheets, beautifully displaying the paint color and texture, but unfortunately not tolerating much reworking in the CP and HP sheets.

Please see the page how to test watercolor papers for an explanation of my paper evaluation methods.

(300gsm R, CP, HP)