Oil paint has a special place at Old Holland. It is the first product we manufactured.Since the early days of oils, artists have made high demands regarding the durability of their work. In order to meet these demands for optimum durability, Old Holland still produces all its classic oil paints according to traditional formulas (the durability of which has been demonstrated over the course of time), supplemented by the latest contemporary insights. The choice of pigments is a unique mix of the best traditional colours and the best pigments derived from the latest technological developments.
In 1985, following extensive research, Old Holland presented a revolutionary range of 168 oil paints, each with the highest degree of lightfastness. Traditional, non-lightfast pigments were replaced with modern lightfast pigments with the same colour characteristics as the traditional ones. Thanks to the highest possible concentration of pigment in each colour, the paint has an unprecedented colour strength. Within the unique range of 168 colours, there is a wide range of opaque and transparent colours, each with the highest possible brilliance (intense) and clarity (clean) characteristics. The only medium we use for our oil paints is cold-pressed extra virgin linseed oil, to obtain an optimum oxidisation (drying) of the paint. This increases durability and brushstroke spread. Together, these characteristics result in an oil paint of unequalled quality.
Each tube of Old Holland oil paint has a colour strip above the label, painted with the colour from the tube in question. We are convinced that this is the only honest method to show the colour in the tube. Old Holland is one of the only company that still uses this method.
Pigments & Raw Materials
Old Holland offers a carefully selected range of 98 lightfast pigments.
As some artists prefer to make their own paints, we offer a carefully selected range of 98 lightfast pigments. We also offer artists and restorers who make their own base liquids a number of raw materials, such as dammar resin, gum Arabic, and more. For product codes, tube sizes, packaging, assortment boxes and more, please check our catalogues.
Old Holland uses these pigments to make all its paints. The pigments have an outstanding colour strength, clarity and brilliance. Generally speaking, pigments can be divided into three groups:
Group 1: Organic pigments
Of natural origin, animal or vegetable (living), usually carbon compounds. Some examples:
Carmine (from the Cochineal insect)
Gummigutta, Gamboge (from the gum resin of the Garcinia Tree)
Indian Yellow (from the urine of cows that eat mango leaves)
Mummy (from the remains of Egyptian mummies)
Madder Lacquer (from the root of the common Madder plant)
Group 2: Anorganic pigments
Chemical compounds from chemical elements other than carbons (non-living). Some examples divided into three subgroups:
Synthetic inorganic pigments (do not occur in nature but are manufactured):
Group 3: Synthetic organic pigments
Complex carbon compounds which do not occur in nature, but are created in the laboratory. Some examples:
Phtalocyanine Blues and Greens
Old Holland has selected a number of unique antique pigments which are mainly used for restoration purposes and other specific applications. These colours can be ordered from Old Holland through your dealer. Please bear in mind the delivery time.
The mineral Lapis Lazuli has been known as a semiprecious stone for around 5000 years, initially in Mesopotamia, China and Egypt. This ‘real’ ultramarine was always extremely expensive, and in the past was equal in value to gold. Lapis lazuli is a glazing blue pigment.
Egyptian smalt is the oldest known cobalt pigment, dating back to ancient Egypt. It is a deep blue pigment, which in Europe became known principally through the Venetian glassmakers.
Malachite, a naturally occurring copper pigment, is perhaps the oldest green pigment, and was referred to by Cennini as ‘verde azzuro’. It was used primarily in tempera mediums or frescoes. It is also known by the name mountain green.
Lapis azurite, another natural copper pigment, was the most important blue pigment used before lapis lazuli in the European renaissance paintings, primarily in tempera mediums. It is also known by the name mountain blue.