I have received a reply from a lady called Sarah Williams at Colart UK giving an explanation for the queries I raised about Cotman policy in the UK, Europe and the USA. This is what she said:
Dear Mr Ward,
Thank you for your enquiry.
The decision not to sell true cadmiums in the Cotman range in the UK was definitely not made to short change artists but instead can be explained by a historical decision. This was based on the fact that in the UK Cotman is positioned as a `student range', in which we do not want to introduce a second pricing series, and complicate the range. The cadmiums would need to be in a separate pricing series as the cadmium pigments are significantly more expensive. We also have only 1 pricing series on our student grade oil, Winton oil colour, for example. However Cotman has a slightly different positioning in the USA, where Cadmiums are required.
Great Art is supplied by Colart Germany, hence we cannot control what is available to UK artists via this website or what price they set.
The Cotman Studio set does indeed contain a selection of true cadmiums and cobalt blue - this is the only Cotman set that contains these colours, in any market.
I hope this answers your query.
The highlights are mine. May I respectfully say Sarah I find your various explanations unconvincing and some defy logic. Briefly `historical' decision? What does that mean exactly. Cotman position `slightly' different in the USA? Not true. Major American art suppliers like Dick Blick and Cheap Joe's clearly state Cotman is `student' quality and position it with other student makes. Cadmiums (and the rest) required in the USA? If so why not in the UK? Why can't there be more than one series? Artists quality have four. Then we have the mystery of the full pan `studio' set. Cotman do not supply full pans in the UK only 8ml, 21ml tubes and half pans. In other words you can't get replacements for them when the paint runs out. You can, if you wish, refill from tubes but only from the existing 40 colour range containing `hue' equivalents but not true cadmiums etc. What marketing (or political) decision caused this anomaly to be introduced? It's interesting that the only UK source I know is Ken Bromley, a major customer of W & N, possibly one of the largest if not the largest in the UK. None of the above need be set in stone. They are purely down to marketing decisions, which can be altered. The current situation discriminates against UK artists, principally those who cannot afford the very expensive artists quality. There are many amateur or hobby artists in this category.
I have sent a reply to Sarah questioning the above points together with copies of the e-mails to the editor of The Artist magazine. Whether any of this will bring about changes is debatable because I am profoundly cynical and anticipate another brush off - if I get a reply at all. As for The Artist magazine Sally Bulgin says she will raise these matters when she meets W & N in March. Will anything happen? I expect a very long wait.