Recently the latest 2015/2016 Jacksons catalogues became available. I say 'catalogues', as there are now two. The standard product catalogue and a new watercolour only. The reason is that with the growth and importance of websites the basic printed catalogue cannot contain the huge number of products they now stock without becoming oversize. The standard catalogue has a lot of watercolour stuff, especially paints, missing.
In this new catalogue yet another brand of watercolour paint. This is called Turner and emanates from Japan. The claim is made that they are `artist quality' and a number of customer reviews, all anonymous, are given which extol the virtues of these new paints.
There are full details of lightfastness ratings, pigments and transparency, which I will come to. The range comprises 86 colours (now 115 July 2016)
of which 59 are single pigment paints. That raises the eyebrows until one examines the details. Of these single pigment paints over 20 say PR (N/A) which I take to mean pigment details not available. Many of them have unusual names, Pearl Black, Copper, Pearl Indigo, Antique Gold and so on. I counted around 20 in this category. Why no pigment details?
There are a number of fugitive paints, Alazarin Crimson PR83, Natural Rose Madder NR9, Opera Red which includes BV11 a dye, and one or two peculiar ones like Clove P(02), Purple Cromwell P(01). What does this mean? Looking at the actual paints I also note a lot of three and a few four pigment mixes that I would normally avoid.
Overall there a quite a few paints that contain good single pigments, blues, some greens, oranges, yellows and reds. You could pick out 20 or 30 in this category. After all who has 89 paints in their palette!.Many of the paints are given `excellent ' lightfastness ratings, the majority in fact although there are four categories from fugitive to excellent. Some of the pigments quoted are not used by the leading manufacturers, some were but have been replaced.
There are four price bands ranging from £3.30p for series 1 to £6.10 for series 4. This is barely a third of what the top priced brands like Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton are. Can this be true that they are comparable in quality? The American mail order outfit Jerrys Artarama are effusive in their praise of these paints but cynical old me takes all such claims with a large pinch of salt. They are quite a bit cheaper than the Korean brands like Shin Han.
I've not tried Turner so cannot comment on how they perform. The composition of each paint depends on pigment load what additives they have and how the whole thing is formulated. Once we had the estimable Handprint that conducted forensic examinations of paints and the claims made for them. Alas no longer. If this brand interests you try some and report.
Jacksons catalogues, the watercolour only one is on the left.
The new watercolour catalogue doesn't just list products. It has a number of articles and other useful information. Although there is a small charge for this new catalogue you can get one free by quoting CATW with your next order. I like Jacksons. They are easy to deal with and eager to please. The occasional mistake is soon rectified. I am now using a new system of delivery where you pick up from a local point, in my case a McColls shop. This means you don't have to worry about being out when the delivery arrives. I would remind readers that if you live outside the EU you don't pay VAT - 20%. This will largely compensate for any extra delivery charges incurred which tend to be at actual cost, not inflated..