Why Potter’s Pink is a Watercolourist’s Secret Weapon

Potter’s Pink (pigment quantity PR233) is a textural, rosy pink pigment that was invented on the finish of the 18th century. This text takes a take a look at the origins of Potter’s Pink, and why it has such a particular position to play in a watercolour palette.


The historical past of Potter’s Pink is as quiet and understated because the pigment itself. It was invented by an unknown potter in Staffordshire sooner or later round 1790, and was launched to the artist market as ‘pinkcolour’ shortly afterwards. Its influence within the subject of watercolour was vital, and for years it was the one lightfast pink pigment out there to watercolour artists. We are able to see it’s granular pink blush within the beneath portray by James Smetham (1821-1889):


Watercolour panorama by James Smetham. Nice Britain, mid nineteenth century. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Potter’s Pink is definitely a man-made mineral pigment made by combining tin oxide, alumina, chromium oxide, lime, and quartz at a excessive temperature. The ensuing combination is completely washed and dried, making a lightfast, earthy pink. Its quartz content material signifies that the pigment particles are fairly arduous and irregular, and this contributes to the granular, textural high quality the pigment produces. Right this moment it’s nonetheless principally used as a glaze for ceramics, however additionally it is a preferred color on artist palettes– significantly for watercolour artists.


Is Potter’s Pink Solely Accessible in Watercolour Ranges?

Potter’s Pink is restricted to watercolour ranges with few exceptions– Winsor and Newton supply an acrylic that makes use of the pigment PR233. Daniel Smith make a paint named Potter’s Pink, however they use the Quinacridone pigment PV19 rather than the real PR233 pigment. Typically it’s the case that sure pigments are incompatible with sure binders (Prussian Blue is an instance), however there’s nothing I can discover which signifies that PR233 is incompatible with any binder. The reply could possibly be that it’s merely a moderately uninteresting pigment– it’s murky, opaque, and weak in tinting energy, so maybe this makes it unattractive to artists working in oil and acrylic. Potter’s Pink’s very explicit traits, nevertheless, are revealed when it’s utilized in watercolour.


Potter's Pink


Why is it so helpful in watercolour?

Potter’s Pink actually is a super-granulating pigment. Granulation is a watercolour impact that sure pigments exhibit when utilized to paper with a lot of water. Pigments with giant and/or irregular pigment particles settle erratically into the feel of the paper, making a grainy, mottled impact that some artists love. It may be harnessed to characterize pure textures, evoke a way of depth, or just as some extent of characterful curiosity in a portray. Granulation might be elevated by portray on tough paper, and utilizing a lot of water within the wash.


Potter's Pink


The attribute of granulation shouldn’t be evenly unfold throughout all colors. For instance, there are many granulating blues like Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue and Cerulean Blue. There are additionally loads of granulating greens, with examples like Cobalt Inexperienced and Viridian. However inside the pink spectrum, there are only a few granulating colors. That is the place Potter’s Pink turns into a watercolourist’s secret weapon.

On this case, Potter’s Pink low tinting energy is definitely its superpower. Including just a bit to a pink pigment doesn’t considerably change the color, however it contributes its granulating texture to the in any other case non-granulating pigment. On this method, it may be used as a type of granulation medium.



If mixing with Potter’s Pink and also you don’t need it’s color to be misplaced, it’s finest to pair it with equally low tinting pigment. It additionally compliments different granulating colors. When combined with Cerulean Blue, it makes some smooth, textural greys. With Nickel Titanate Yellow it turns into a blushing peach-pink. One among my favorite mixtures is Potter’s Pink with Uncooked Sienna, which makes a gorgeous pink-brown.



Listed here are some suggestions of some Potter’s Pink paints. There isn’t a large amount of variation between manufacturers, however some are deeper and darker than others:

  • MaimeriBlu Watercolour– a beautiful instance of the color. It may be fairly darkish when used thickly, however washes out into a gorgeous smooth rose.
  • Daniel Smith Watercolour– that is barely browner in hue than different Potter’s Pinks, which some artists would possibly want.
  • Roman Szmal Watercolour – I might normally suggest getting Potters Pink in a tube as it’s simpler to get essentially the most from a delicate watercolour on this type, however this Roman Szmal color rewets fantastically with good color energy.

Potter’s Pink can also be a beautiful paint to make your self utilizing dry pigment. Because of its quartz content material it’s tough to grind easily by hand however, as a result of its granular high quality is what makes it so particular it doesn’t take a lot grinding to produces a beautiful, extra-granulating watercolour!



Additional Studying

Pigment Color Index: Purple Pigments

Making Your Personal Oil Paint With Jackson’s Pigments

Is Watercolour Higher in Pans or Tubes?

Pigment Tales: the Enduring Enchantment of Alizarin Crimson


Store Potter’s Pink on jacksonsart.com


Evie Hatch

Evie’s pursuits lie within the historical past and traits of artist colors and supplies. This analysis performs a big half in her artwork follow; she loves investigating conventional strategies and makes her personal watercolour and oil paints. Evie graduated in 2016 from Camberwell Faculty of Artwork with a level in Drawing. She is presently finding out Artwork Historical past on the Courtauld Institute, London.