Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review of a Vintage Winsor Newton Travel Palette

This is a review of a vintage Winsor Newton travel watercolor palette I scored on Ebay.  I don’t know the model number or year it was made and if anyone has this info I would appreciate if you passed it on.

I’ve been using a metal travel palette with 14 half pans and was looking for one larger with more paint space and I found this gem on-line.  I heard about the old enameled Winsor Newton palettes from my watercolor teacher Tim Clark so I bid for this item  which was located in Britain.  The vendor kindly wrapped it in fragrant, delicate paper that added to my experience opening the foreign package. 

The palette measures 5.5” x 2.75” and folds out to yield 3 large mixing wells and a flat surface.  Both rows yield space for 16 half pans, and there are metal dividers between pans and a center area to keep a brush.  Two removable metal strips hold the pans securely in place.  My palette was partially used and 5 paints were caked with age but the remainders were creamy luxurious colors, particularly the Winsor orange and Venetian red. 

The enamel case had a few chips that were easily fixed with Testors paint.  I was especially thrilled when I realized that the center row can be used for more colors, so I got busy with my on-line art store and ordered a new row of half pans to make a nice spectrum of watercolors.  The only problem is I am afraid the enameled case might get chipped and I don’t want to leave home with it.  Who knows when the next one is coming up on Ebay!

So if anyone recognizes this palette and knows more about the year or model number please leave a comment.  


  1. Beautiful. I love it. Is there a thumb ring on the bottom?

    I've been looking for some store that sells them forever. The closest thing I've seen to this WN classic is the Kremer Travel Palette which can be purchase at their store on West 29th Street, or at their website:

    1. Yes I forgot to mention that it does have a thumb ring. I use the Kremer palette also and it is great. The main advantage of this one is more colors!

  2. I just purchased one on Ebay, and it came today! I paid approx. $50 for mine + shipping. It has a thumb ring on the bottom, too. I think the seller took the internal parts out and spray painted them white. They're very white and the whole thing smells like spray paint, but I love it. There are slots for 12 half pans and a middle section that should hole six more. I'm very pleased. Keep looking on Ebay, if you want one.

  3. I have one. Had it for about 25 years – maybe more. It has the thumb hoop and, like you I have added extra half pans in the centre row. I wouldn't worry about taking it out and getting the odd knock – it adds character and history. I have scratched my name and address into the underside though hopefully, I'll never need to put that to the test by leaving it somewhere.

  4. PS. The centre pic in the three insets is of a different palette. The pictured one has troughs for the half pans whereas the W&N one discussed here relies on the dividers to keep everything in position.

    PPS. Mine is here...

  5. You can actually buy this on amazon as the Whiskey Painters Master Palette for around $80. I have one and love it. I put a row of half pans down the middle so mine holds 24 half pans.

    The box is branded for Whiskey Painters by Farquar but is actually made by an Italian company named FOME. They also make the boxes that are branded for Windsor and Newton and Daniel Smith when Daniel Smith used to carry them. They are lovely, heavy enameled boxes. I have several and love them all. I find this one my most versatile one. Large enough to hold a lot of color but small enough to be considered portable. This is the one I tote back and forth to class. I also love that I can easily switch the pans in and out and that they don't shift or fall out like some of the cheaper snap in tins do.

  6. This is made in Italy by FOME.

    You can still get them. On Amazon they are the Whiskey Painters Master Palette. You want the one that says 16 half pans but you can fit an extra 8 half pans down the middle if you don't want to store brushes there.

    Or if you happen to be in Florence, Italy you can get one at Zecchi for 33 euros.

  7. Hi. Got one like this, bought it in 1974 in London. It has the same label.


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