Daler-Rowney’s reputation as a manufacturer of the finest art materials dates back some 230 years.
In 1783, the Rowney Company was established when Richard and Thomas Rowney moved to central London and opened premises selling perfumes and wig powder. As the wearing of wigs soon became unfashionable (an event for which George IV was blamed when he discarded his own wig), the Rowneys re-focused their activities and concentrated upon producing artists' colours. They achieved notable success, supplying famous artists such as Constable and Turner. Indeed, Turner was a family friend for whom the company became the appointed official lithographers. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Rowney Company relocated around London many times and throughout this time accomplished numerous improvements in the manufacture and production of oil and watercolour.
In 1963, Rowney was the first manufacturer in Europe to introduce artists' acrylic colour. Rowney’s ‘Cryla’ was widely used by artists throughout the 1960s and 1970s heralding a new era in art practice which became known as ‘Pop Art’. Two of its best known proponents, Peter Blake and Bridget Riley, used Rowney's ‘Cryla’ acrylics extensively during this period.
In 1969, the George Rowney company made a 40 mile move out to the west of central London to its present headquarters in Bracknell, England. The business had passed through generations of Rowney children; Tom Rowney was at the helm at this time. Tom worked as Managing Director for over 30 years. As he had no family following him in the business, in 1969 he sold the George Rowney Company to Morgan Crucible, a conglomerate which managed Rowney’s operations for a number of years.
As George Rowney continued to develop in the sales of Colours, another dynamic company was founded and fast developed in unrelated areas of artists’ materials. The Daler Board Company was incorporated in 1946, having started life the previous year when Terry Daler returned from a German prisoner of war camp. With his brother Ken and brother-in-law Arthur, he initially started a sign writing business. During the Second World War, shop signs in the south coast towns of England had been painted over so that would-be invading Germans would not know where they were! As a result, the Daler’s business thrived in the years following the end of the War as shop signs were re-painted.
Also as a result of the war and shortages of all types of materials, canvas was extremely hard for artists to obtain. Typically, an oil painting requires a sealed, ‘toothed’ (abrasive) surface to pull thick oil colour off the brush. Arthur, a talented artist himself, improvised to create a new surface to replace canvas. Cardboard was sealed and primed through a mesh (he very probably used a net kitchen curtain), which when removed left a perfectly textured surface. Arthur’s canvas substitute was eventually developed into a commercial product and the ‘Daler Board’ was born.
Between 1945 and 1960, The Daler Board Company developed a variety of products across the whole spectrum of artists' materials, including pads such as the distinctive red and yellow Series A. Other new products in the Daler range included canvas panels, stretched canvas, mountboard and artists' luggage.
In 1975, The Daler Board Company introduced the first synthetic watercolour brush to the artists' materials market. ‘Dalon’ was the first real rival to the sable brush for over 100 years.
In their own specialist areas of manufacture, George Rowney and The Daler Board Company had led the international development of fine artists' materials for many years.
In 1983, the Daler Board Company purchased the George Rowney Company. Once the two companies had merged, they formed Daler-Rowney Limited as the company is known today. The combined heritage of both companies and the Daler-Rowney name became synonymous with leadership, dynamism and consistent quality to artists throughout the world.
Over the next ten years, Daler-Rowney continued to grow internationally and in the United Kingdom, its home country. In 1988 distribution offices and warehousing were established in New Jersey, USA.
In 1994 a logical further development was for Daler-Rowney to purchase ‘Robert Simmons’ the premier brand of artists’ brushes on the US market.
In 2006 Daler Rowney acquired Cachet products, a market leader in hardback books.
Daler-Rowney now operates from three manufacturing bases – all its Colours (paints) are manufactured in Bracknell, Berkshire. Artists' paper and mountboard is transformed in Wareham, Dorset and artists' brushes are made in La Romana in the Dominican Republic.
With its Paper, Brushes and Colour three pronged approach to product development, production and sales & marketing, Daler-Rowney is unique amongst the leaders in the fine art market in offering its own products in the three key fine art categories.
As well as being divided into the three product categories, the Daler-Rowney range uniquely offers solutions to four groups of artists; professional artists, accomplished students and amateurs, emerging talents and beginners. In each of the three product groups, every artist can find products adapted to their technical level of accomplishment as well as their financial means.
While Daler-Rowney sells in the UK and exports to some 100 countries worldwide, throughout its long history it has maintained and built upon its reputation, always aiming to further develop its’ standing and the company’s product ranges.
In January 2013 Daler-Rowney purchased Lukas and Nerchau, two German brands, with the intention of developing them further in their home country and far further afield.
While it is not possible to give details of all of the extremely extensive Daler-Rowney here, it is possible to mention a few of the key products in the Daler-Rowney range; further information is available throughout the website.
Daler-Rowney Oil Colours
Tradition meets technology in the manufacture of Daler-Rowney Oil Colours and a meeting of the best of both worlds ensures that glossy surface and pure lightfast colours reply to the demands of artists worldwide.
In order to achieve the accuracy of colour and strength of tint that has become associated with Daler-Rowney, a precise formulation is used, combining oil content and high-quality pigment, ground as finely as possible to achieve complete dispersion. This releases the full intensity of the colour and creates a firm, smooth texture.
Daler-Rowney produces four major oil colour ranges – Artists' Oil, Georgian Oil Colour, Graduate Oil and Simply Oil. All ranges are subject to rigorous testing for consistency of tint, texture and performance, even in extreme conditions.
Rooted in 1783 London and named after George Rowney the company’s founder, Georgian Oil Colours from Daler-Rowney enrich contemporary artistic expression through modern and brilliant colours, optimal pigment loads and a very satisfying feel under both brush and knife.
Georgian Oil Colour is characterised through high pigment loads, the inclusion of traditional cadmium and cobalt pigments and exceptionally permanent and brilliant colours while colours are intermixable and consistent from wet to dry.
Traditionally crafted and triple-milled in England, Georgian Oil Colours provide colour consistency from wet to dry and even performance and finish across all colours. Due to their careful formulation, Georgian Oil Colours generally require very limited quantities of mediums so can be used freely straight from the tube allowing the artist to concentrate on spontaneous creativity.
Graduate Oil Colours are characterised by their vibrant colours and a soft buttery consistency and high pigment loading. They offer excellent brushability and are easy to mix while being suitable for smooth brush applications and impasto. All colours are either Permanent 4**** or Normally Permanent 3*** and surface dry to a uniform low gloss satin sheen within four to five days. Graduate Oil is available in a range of forty-two vibrant colours including, unusually, 4 metallics many of which are single pigment which ensures that colours are brighter and cleaner when mixed. The unique formulation of refined linseed oil and modern drying agents creates oil colours which are easy to squeeze from the tube and effortlessly mixed on the palette.
With over 150 years of expertise in oil colour manufacturing, Daler-Rowney traditionally crafts Graduate Oil in England. Every colour and every batch is carefully checked to exacting quality standards ensuring that colours perform consistently and to the levels which artists have come to expect from Daler-Rowney’s colours.
Daler-Rowney Acrylic Colours
Many leading contemporary artists use acrylics, as they possess very different properties compared to oils or watercolours. Fast drying, acrylics lose their solubility; this is a great advantage to painters who wish to work quickly. Because of the faster drying time, a painting which might have taken weeks to accomplish in oil colour can be completed in one session with acrylics.
Acrylic colours are classed as the “new” painting medium as they have only been around for a few decades. Lead by Daler-Rowney Cryla, acrylics have gained in popularity over the years and are now often the painting medium of choice. This is due to the plethora of application techniques, and their ability to ‘take’ on virtually any surface.
The versatility of acrylics is built into the formulation of the paint, giving acrylics excellent adhesion properties allowing the paint to stick to surfaces from concrete to wood. Acrylics have the flexibility to move with the surface, expanding and contracting while still maintaining their integrity. Thinning with water allows watercolour type techniques to be achieved without having to choose specially sized (prepared) surfaces while using the colour straight from the tube allows oil-like impasto marks to be created without the drawback of long drying times or worrying about “fat over lean” principles.
Daler-Rowney produces four major acrylic colour ranges – Cryla, System 3, Graduate Acrylic and Simply Acrylic. As with oils, all ranges are subject to rigorous testing for consistency of tint, texture and performance, even in extreme conditions.
Daler-Rowney System 3 acrylics
With two versions, System 3 Original and System 3 Heavy Body, System 3 acrylics are highly versatile, water-based acrylic colours. They offer an excellent cost-effective painting experience. Only high-quality pigments are used in the manufacture of the System 3 ranges which offer significantly greater pigment loadings than other acrylic ranges in this class. System 3’s comprehensive range of colours offers excellent light-fastness, permanence, durability and covering power.
All colours can be thinned with water to pale washes, or used directly from the pot or tube; each form dries quickly to create an insoluble film. The quick drying properties of the range enable the artist to work quickly, superimposing or juxtaposing colours without unnecessary fuss.
All System 3 Original and System 3 Heavy Body colours are fully intermixable and suitable for interior use. As they are not lightfast, fluorescent colours are not recommended for exterior use; all other colours are both lightfast and durable.
Graduate Acrylics offer the emerging artist a very affordable range of acrylic colours. The range features bright and strong colours which are easy to brush onto surfaces. They can be used on any paper surface, primed board or canvas, used indoors or outdoors and are so versatile they can also be used with a variety of acrylic mediums, also available from Daler-Rowney. There are 48 colours in the range, including metallic colours.
Graduate Acrylic colours are of good pigment strength and flow easily across paper and primed surfaces. Colours are water-based and contain no solvents. In accordance with EC labelling regulations, all colours are classified as non-dangerous in use which makes them very popular for use by budding artists in schools and colleges.
The advantage of acrylic colours to schools and hobbyists, of course, is that artwork can be dried and stored away shortly after an art class has been completed, it will not smudge if water is spilled on the surface of the painting. The colours are fast-drying, durable and flexible, so paintings will last a long time. Paper and canvas coated with Graduate Acrylic can be loosely rolled and stored without fear of cracking.
The demanding techniques of watercolour painting require high performance papers, specially formulated to accept colour and withstand repeated application of washes.
All watercolour papers and boards selected by Daler-Rowney are made from the highest quality wood pulp or cotton fibres and are all acid-free to prevent discoloration over time. The surface texture of watercolour paper plays an integral part in the overall character of the painting. Daler-Rowney watercolour papers are available in rough (Rough), medium-grain (Not) and smooth (Hot Pressed) surfaces, available in loose sheets, pads, spirals, hardback books and blocks in a range of sizes to suit the needs of all watercolourists.
Langton Prestige Watercolour Paper
Langton Prestige is a superior-quality acid-free watercolour paper manufactured using 100% cotton which is the highest quality material for papermaking. Made traditionally on a cylinder mould machine, this paper features a natural whiteness with a soft touch and distinctive texture.
Aquafine Watercolour Paper
Aquafine watercolour paper is manufactured on a Fourdrinier paper machine using 100% virgin wood pulp. It is acid-free and buffered to prevent deterioration of colour and to preserve the integrity of the paper over time. The paper is free of OBA (optical brightening agents) and is surface and internally sized (treated). Aquafine watercolour paper is aimed at those beginners and students as well as professional artists preferring to work in mainly ‘dry’ watercolour painting techniques.
Its weight of 300gsm offers good water absorbability and the surface is fairly hard, making it easily erasable and suitable for masking fluid without stretching.
Daler-Rowney’s oil brush ranges have been carefully designed to provide artists of all abilities with the most comprehensive choice of shapes and sizes. Rounds are perfect brushes for touching-in small areas, fine detailing and applying well-thinned colour. Short Flats or Brights with their stiffer bristles are the perfect choice for applying thick paint, heavy impasto work and short strokes. Filberts curve gently to a point, allowing easy control of the brush head which is great for softening edges and making strong, tapered strokes. Fan Blenders have an attractive fan-shaped head used for subtle blending of colour, distant trees and foliage.
Georgian Oil Brushes
Oil painting calls for resilient, durable and sturdy hog bristle brushes which have good colour retention and are easy to use. Georgian brushes have extra-fine quality Chungking bristle with a high percentage of natural flags for maximum colour-holding and smooth flexible strokes. They are handmade using traditional interlocked construction for durability and control. In sizes from 1 upwards they are made with a variety of head shapes for different strokes.
Daler-Rowney Acrylic brush ranges have been carefully designed to provide artists of all abilities with the most comprehensive choice of shapes and sizes in order to accomplish the same tasks as oil brushes (see above) but with acrylic paint.
System 3 Acrylic Brushes
System 3 brushes are resilient and durable - an ideal painting tool for beginners and enthusiasts alike. The single thickness of soft synthetic filaments gives a good snap and perfect spring ideal for acrylic painting.
The soft dark-tipped synthetic filaments and black aluminium ferrule combined with an ergonomic yellow short handle give this brush style, affordability, flexibility and comfort. The unique balanced handle prevents fatigue through hours of painting.
Daler-Rowney’s new Graduate Brush range has been created to perfectly meet the needs of students and hobbyists alike. The range features a wide variety of traditional, individually available brushes complimented by single and multi-brush wallets, all of which offer excellent value for money.
Available singly, the open stock range offers a choice of 54 brushes with 16 different head shapes in a range of sizes, both with short and long handles. The range features brushes with a variety of hair types to suit acrylic, oil or watercolour techniques. Uniquely, the complete open stock range is offered at a single price.
Twenty-four wallets of 3, 4 and 5 short and long-handled brushes are also available; each wallet includes a selection of brushes which suit particular techniques and applications. This is supplemented by a further range of forty-four long-handled single-brush wallets.
Every wallet prominently displays the type of hair, the price band and a star coding system advising of the suitability of the brushes for use with each technique: watercolour, acrylic and oil. The variety of styles available in the range is displayed on the back of each wallet.