Sunday, 13 November 2016

Rembrant (Royal Talens) Watercolours

Rembrandt ( Royal Talens) the Dutch company, now owned by Sakura Color Products of Japan, was started in 1899 by Martin Talens as the 'Dutch Factory for Paints, Lacquers and inks', located in the  city of Apeldoon. In 1949 the 'Royal' designation was awarded, In 1963 Van Gogh (40 paints in pans and 10ml tubes) were introduced and Amsterdam in 1976.

 Just to explain Rembrandt are the artists quality range, Van Gogh a middle range and Amsterdam the student quality. Van Gogh is therefore in between and an excellent choice for those who don't want or cannot afford the dearest artist quality.   From amongst the 40 colours a very acceptable palette can be put together which would suit many people.

In 1963 the Sikkem Group NV took over and a further change occurred in 1991 when the Sakura Color Products Corporation became the new owners



The Rembrandt range comprises 80 paints of which 53% are single pigment.  All the colours are there and good pigments feature.   Apart from two fugitive paints using PR83, Madder Lake Deep and Alazarin Crimson, which are identified as fugitive, all others are said to be excellent in this respect. PY184 -Permanent  Lemon Yellow - however is rated by Handprint as fugitive, but then he has questioned the ratings of several paints in other leading makes. What does Handprint say about them?

"Rembrandt paints are relatively inexpensive and of very good consistent quality". His criticisms are.... 5 pigments are involved in 37 different colours... too many mixed hues... an economy brand`'.

Other reviews I've seen have been favourable giving them top marks and they are certainly superior overall to student quality ranges - so too is Van Gogh. I have said before however that there are many decent paints to be selected from amongst Cotman, Venezia as well as Van Gogh and the own brand makes are also worth investigation. The artist Trevor Chamberlain commented in his book, 'Trevor Chamberlain - A Personal View',  that he had found a really good Viridian, after trying many others, made by Talens. I actually bought some after reading this but wasn't especially enthused, but who am I to disagree with such an accomplished artist. 80 is a goodly number and nothing is really missing. See for yourself in the colour chart above.

Whatever Handprint says they are used by many artists in Europe and available from most USA online companies.  Gerard Hendriks, the Dutch master, uses them and look how colourful his paintings are. Indeed they are marketed as 'Professional Quality', which has to be taken with a grain of salt in regard to some makes, but I am sure is reasonable in this instance.





The Van Gogh range - 40 colours in half pans and 10ml tubes. 

Rembrandt are available in both pans and tubes plus box sets. Tubes are 5ml with 40 colours  in 20ml. Not everyone stocks the 20ml and indeed Jacksons are selling them off 'while stocks last'. The only one that seems to sell the full range of sizes is the SAA  (Society of All Artists ) and you have to be a member to get the best prices. Jacksons seem to be dropping the 20ml size which is a shame. In the 5ml size the Cadmiums, which Handprint praises, only cost around £3.20 so are excellent buys if you only use them sparingly.  In fact this applies to many colours apart from the staples. The 5ml prices are very good. I certainly regard them, in terms of quality and price - which are the criteria I use - in the larger 20ml size as a 'best buy'.

In conclusion I think Rembrandt are well worth consideration apart from the tube sizes which are out of line with most others. It would be better if they offered  either a 15ml tube size or a larger range of 20ml. Based on the current 20ml prices from the SAA, ranging from  £6.55 to £9.75, they are a top buy. My main gripe is the poor availability in the UK of the 20ml size. Even Great Art  only do the 5 ml size. This doesn't appear to be a problem in the USA.

SEE UPDATED INDEX - JULY 2014

5 comments:

Edo Hannema said...

With Rembrandt its almost impossible to create mud, because almost all colours are pure and transparent!

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Edo for this insight

Terry 904 said...

The only negative for me with Rembrandt is that they make a lot of colours from only a relatively few pigments. This prevents them from being a primary brand choice. In addition they are in Australia expensive, sitting squarely in the upper middle price range. They are decent paints though. Some are very good, eg PB27 Prussian Blue, a very hard, iron flavoured blue compared to the others, that appears to posses superior lightfastness. I think that middle of the road best describes this brand and line of watercolours.

Frankly I do much, much, much, much , much better for my money with Holbein buying at retail direct from Japan, and considerably better in Australia with MGraham $11- 14.40, and used to with Maimeri Blu, before the recent whacking great price hike, up $6 per tube. Dan Smith are here a totally ridiculous price at $30 S1, rising $5 per series. W&N are here an eye watering $37 per 14 ml tube S1, rising stratospherically.

I do use other Talens products though,

Their shellac based India Ink in 1 ltr bottles, a very opaque PBK7 carbon black, with all that implies, which is completely waterproof, in preference to their version in acrylic base which is not. Priced at $108aud here, it didn't sell until it was progressively reduced to $49.95.

Talens Ecoline Inks. I've been using these since the mid 80s. They are anilines, meaning dye colours, so zero lightfastness. But in applications where this is not an issue, they are simply gorgeous, delicate, richly pigmented transparent flat colours.

Peter Ward said...

The fact that Rembrandt make 37 colours from just 5 pigments was Handprints main criticism. If you mix a lot then this is obviously a factor. However such brilliant artists as Gerard Hendriks uses them and his paintings are very colourful. In the UK prices are very good and near the bottom level.

Terry 904 said...


Hi Peter, hope I didn't give the impression that I thought Talens Rembrandt no good, quite the contrary.

What I meant to convey was that they are decent paints, the small pigment base is the only, (to my mind) criticism I can level at them, and for the remainder of the news is all good, basically.

Today we are so incredibly spoilt for choices. In pigments as well as everything else in terms of materials, and these choices are expanding exponentially. Compare with what was available to an artist even in fairly recent times, a choice of one brand, at one shop, and even then not the complete colour range, if so fortunate. Price was very high, in real terms, and the debate centred not upon which brand is best, but rather what can be got, and what can be done with it.

Look, all of tthe brands are very good, in general, and so it comes down to the small individual differences that appeal to us, or not, one pigment/ formulation/ brand, over another, with availability, and local price being the final determinants.

In Australia, Rembrandt are very slightly upper middle priced. Which means that here they have competition.

As you know, it's not so much the brand, as the hand that is superior, although personal preferences in materials certainly play an important role, which is why we get into such discussions.

Terry