Tuesday 2 May 2017

Old Holland Watercolour complete range

Old Holland goes back to 1664. Their website is really interesting to read :-)

Their current range of 168 watercolours includes 5 whites that I haven't tested -  Highlighting Titanium White (PW6), Tinting Zinc White (PW4), Transparent Chinese White (PW4), Opaque White and Mixed White (PW6).

The rest of the range is shown below. The full colour chart can be seen here and I have arranged these swatches in the same rather unusual order.

Old Holland are relatively expensive in Australia, especially for the pan colours so I haven't used many of the colours to paint with. I know that Golden Barok Red is a favourite of many, and the Ultramarine Deep and Cerulean Deep are some of the richest available. There are some gorgeous earth colours but also some multi pigment mixes. 

In some cases the website and the printed colour charts have noted different pigments so I have done my best to guess the best options.

The word 'lake' indicates a transparent glazing colour. 'Extra' means it is a traditional colour made from a lightfast pigment.

I always try to show each paint at it's best, but most of these are painted out from tiny dots of colour, sometimes not enough to build a strong wash. All the same, these would seem to be very light colours made largely with white.
Old Holland Watercolours - Old Holland Yellow Light, Old Holland Yellow Deep, Old Holland Yellow Medium, Brilliant Yellow Light, Brilliant Yellow.

 These first two are also tinted white hues painted from tiny dots.
Old Holland Watercolours - Brilliant Yellow Reddish, Naples Yellow Reddish Extra, Flesh Tint, Indian Yellow Green Lake Extra, Cobalt (Aureolin) Lake Extra.

 Scheveningen Yellow Light is a lovely rich primary yellow. The PY3 Scheveningen Yellow Lemon would be a nice cool option.
Old Holland Watercolours - Nickel titanium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Scheveningen Yellow Lemon, Cadmium Yellow Light, Scheveningen Yellow Light.

 These are not quite true to real colour - the three on the right are slightly redder.
Old Holland Watercolours - Scheveningen Yellow Medium, Vermilion Extra, Scheveningen Red Scarlet, Cadmium Red Scarlet, Coral Orange.

 Oranges are always difficult to capture. These swatches are all a little more red than they appear here.
Old Holland Watercolours - Cadmium Orange, Scheveningen Orange, Cadmium Yellow Orange, Cadmium Yellow Extra Deep, Golden Barok Red.

 These are reasonable accurate in colour.
Old Holland Watercolours - Old Holland Red Gold Lake, Indian Yellow Brown Lake Extra, Indian Yellow Ornage LAke Extra, Gamboge Extra Lake, Cadmium Yellow Deep.

Old Holland Watercolours - Scheveningen Yellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Old Holland Bright Red, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium.

Old Holland Watercolours - Scarlet Lake Extra, Cadmium Red Deep, Scheveningen Purple Brown, Cadmium Red Purple, Carmine Lake Extra.

Old Holland Watercolours - Alizarin Crimson Lake Extra, Madder (Crimson) Lake Deep Extra, Burgundy Wine Red, Scheveningen Red Deep, Madder (Geranium) Lake Light Extra.

Old Holland Watercolours - Scheveningen Red Light, Scheveningen Red Medium, Rose Dore Madder Lake Antique Extra, Old Holland Violet Grey (may also have PG18 in the mix), Old Holland Blue Violet.

Old Holland Watercolours - Dioxazine Violet, Ultramarine Violet, cobalt Violet Dark, Manganese Violet Blueness, Old Holland Bright Violet.

Old Holland Watercolours - Cobalt Violet Light, Manganese Violet Reddish, Scheveningen Violet, Ultramarine Red Pink, Royal Purple Lake.

Old Holland Watercolours - Old Holland Magenta, same colour as left, Magenta (Quinacridone), painted from a more generous sample), Scheveningen Rose Deep, ruby Lake, Brilliant Pink.

Old Holland Watercolours - Neutral Tint, Payne's Grey, Old Holland Blue Deep, Parisian (Prussian) Blue Extra.

Old Holland Watercolours - Old Holland Blue, Scheveningen Blue Deep, Blue Lake, Indigo Extra, Scheveningen Blue.

There are a number of beautiful cool blues - the Caribbean Blue and Cerulean Blue Deep in particular.
Old Holland Watercolours - Caribbean Blue, Cobalt Blue Turquoise, Cerulean Blue Deep, Cerulean Blue, Cerulean Blue Light.

PB33 - a lovely granulating cool blue pigment - was discontinued in 2017. Old Holland have added a new hue to their range made with PB35 + PB15 + PG50 + PV16 to replicate this colour.
Old Holland Watercolours - Manganese Blue Deep (old version - now a 4 pigment hue), Viridian Green Deep, Cobalt Green Deep, Cobalt Green Turquoise, Turquoise Blue Deep.

Old Holland Watercolours - Cobalt Blue Turquoise Light, Old Holland blue Grey, Scheveningen Blue Light, King's Blue Light, King's Blue Deep.

Old Holland Watercolours - Cobalt Blue, Old Holland Cyan Blue, Cobalt Blue Deep, French Ultramarine Light Extra, Ultramarine Blue.

The Old Holland Ultramarine Blue Deep is probably the most rich and granulating available. Manganese blue genuine may be difficult to find now as this pigment has been discontinued. The new hue is made from three pigments - PB35 + PB15 + PG50. Scheveningen Green Deep is of course 'phthalo green'.
Old Holland Watercolours - Ultramarine Blue Deep, Manganese Blue (original version, now a three pigment hue made with PB35, PB15 and PG50), Viridian Green Light, Cobalt Green, Scheveningen Green Deep.

Old Holland Watercolours - Scheveningen Green, Permanent Green Deep, emerald Green, Permanent Green Light, Old Holland Bright Green.

Old Holland Watercolours - Cadmium Green Deep, Cadmium Green Light, Cinnabar Green Light Extra, Old Holland Yellow Green, Old Holland Green Light.

Old Holland Watercolours - Permanent Green, Sap Green Lake Extra, Old Holland Golden Green, Raw Sienna Light, Italian Earth.

These are all very similar, it's not just the photo, but I rather like the PBr24 Naples Yellow Deep Extra. It's much nicer than most mixed Naples Yellow versions.
Old Holland Watercolours - Gold Ochre, Yellow Ochre Deep, Yellow Ochre Light, Mars Yellow, Naples Yellow Deep Extra.

Old Holland Watercolours - Naples Yellow Extra, Green Umber, Green Earth, Olive Green Dark, Hooker's Green Light Lake Extra.

Old Holland Watercolours - Hooker's Green Lake Deep Extra, Cinnabar Green Deep Extra, Chromium Oxide Green, Old Holland Golden Green Deep, Raw Sienna Deep.

Old Holland Watercolours - Brown Ochre Light, Old Holland Yellow Brown, Transparent Oxide Yellow Lake, Italian Brown Pink Lake, Transparent Oxide Red Lake.

Old Holland Watercolours - Mars Orange Red, Yellow Ochre Half Burnt, Yellow Ochre Burnt, Old Holland Light Red, Burnt Sienna.

Old Holland Watercolours - Red Ochre, English Red, Flesh Ochre, Venetian Red, Persian (Indian) Red.

Old Holland Watercolours - Old Holland Cold Grey, Scheveningen Warm Grey, Old Holland Warm Grey Light, Davy's Grey, Van Dyck Brown (Cassel) Extra.

Old Holland Watercolours - Sepia Extra, Old Holland Ochre, Raw Umber, Raw Umber - same paint, different batch, Burnt Umber.

Old Holland Watercolours - Deep Ochre, Warm Sepia Extra, Brown Ochre Deep, Red Umber, Mars Brown.

Old Holland Watercolours - Caput Mortuum Violet, Vine Black, Ivory Black Extra (PBk9), Scheveningen Intense Black (PBk7), Mars Black.

You can find the full range of many other brands on this blog - just use the search button.


  1. Hi, I was looking for watercolor's brands information and came to visit your blog.
    All those swatches are very informative, thanks for the great work.
    Btw if you're looking for holbein's pigment number, here is the chart, it's from the japanese website.

  2. Thanks for this!
    On the whole, how do you feel these compared to other brands like Daniel Smith?

    1. It's no secret that I have been using Daniel Smith watercolours for over 20 years because they work beautifully for me. Old Holland have a very strong pigment load so some of their colours are really intense, but they can have a tendency to 'bronze' if used at all thickly. There are also far more multi-pigment mixes and mixes with white than I am interested in, though others may enjoy these colours.

      I really like the OH ultramarine deep, which is probably the warmest and most granulating ultramarine available. I also like their cerulean blue deep - again one of the most intense available. And they are the last to have genuine Manganese blue. I like that they are available in pans and tubes. I like that they have a good range in interesting earth pigments. But the cost is off-putting. And where I have bought a whole tube I've had serious problems with too much gum Arabic. Probably the best way to buy them is in pans.

    2. I also had the same problem. I tried out different cobalt turquoise and green colors (PG59, PG36) from different brands because especially PG59 is one of my favorite pigments ever (and it was a treat for myself). I bought three tubes and all of them had the problem of seperated binder and I think there is also in general too much binder compared to the pigment. To be fair, cobalt pigments are the more difficult ones in watercolors. I also had some separation with blocks, winsor & Newton and in one DS (all from the same cobalt haul) but none so bad like with old Holland. I also got the "bronze" effect way too easily with them. Maybe it was also just bad luck but since they are expensive and reading about your experience, I probably won't get more from them.

  3. I recently bought 24 hand-picked half pans of Old Holland paints from Jackson's UK and an empty metal palette to put them in, and so far I really love them. The Turquoise Blue Deep is stunning, and overall the pigmentation and transparency is beautiful. I have no plans to buy more Old Holland colors, because I already have more paint than anyone needs. I just wanted to try this brand. I'm glad Ultramarine Deep was one of my choices.

    Jane, I tried your Jane's Gold recipe. I picked the first tubes I found that had the PY150 and PR101 pigments and it worked beautifully. It gave me the idea to try to mix my new Old Holland paints to make a quinacridone gold equivalent. I mixed Indian Yellow Orange Lake, Red Gold Lake, and a bit of Red Umber and it is almost identical, a beautiful gold. I figure the Old Holland colors I have will make anything, because I can refer to your mixing charts and figure it out. Thanks for providing such wonderful help here!

    1. I do think pans are the go with this brand. But perhaps I have just been unlucky. I have bought 4 tubes in total, and two have been basically full of gum Arabic with almost no pigment. The other two (smaller sized tubes) have been fine. But the price of the lower volume half pans are the same as the small tubes...

      They have some great pigments and some really lovely colours but my experience has put me off. Maybe I'll buy some pans in Holland some day!

      I'm glad you find my mixing recipes helpful :-)

  4. Hello Jane! I've been reqding your blog since last year when i started to get interested in watercolors! really great work testing all these brands and all the colors. For the old holland, i am very interested by a special color the Red gold lake but apparently it's missing in your test? Have your tried this color out? Thanks!

    1. It is shown in the 6th row. Not an essential colour since it is a three pigment mix I'd have thought.

    2. Thanks! I am surprised that this color is so pale! That's why i totally missed it... I was looking for a color that shows red and gold at the same time (sorry i can't upload the picture i saw). It might give that effect with less water?

  5. Julianne...curious as to the 24 pans you choose/colours as I am also interested in tryng this brand

    1. There are so many colours in this range that it wouldn't appear to be easy, however I tend to narrow down to the single pigment colours where possible, with the best light-fast ratings. That does reduce the range considerably. There are some great earth colours and some beautiful blues. Add some mixing yellows and reds and a couple of greens and you'll be set.


  6. Do you trouble getting them to dry on your pallet? Mine are really sticky and I can't get them to dry completely.. do you have any tips?

    1. Make sure you shake the tube really well - I find they tend to separate a bit in the tubes. Then stir in the palette and allow to dry fully before travel.

  7. Hello Jane, just wanted to update: I think Old Holland completely ran out of PB 33 back in 2017 and are selling Manganese Blue and Manganese Blue Deep "EXTRA" now, that are hues and lack granulation. Not sure if this is 100% correct, but perhaps you could update the info if it is so. Wanted to purchase the paint, but apparently current ones are just hues :(

  8. I meant PG50 of course ;) My mobile screen is a little bit small.

  9. It is really strange, on this swatches, cadmiums colors, yellow and oraange are from PR 108 while in their website are PO 20
    Which one is reliable one? This is very confusing