Moist Watercolour Paint Cakes12

Old AWC Pale Cadmium

The Moist Water Colour Paint-Cake

The moist water colour paint-cake innovation was a key development for Reeves in 1781.

William thought of the moist paint-cake concept during his time working at the Theatre Colourman.

He noticed that gentry and artists paid a great deal for lumps of paint, which they could chip up and use for watercolours.

His training as a wire-drawer gave him the idea that paint could be extruded like wire and then chopped into oblong cakes.

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Old AWC Terre Verte

He realised, however, that the paint needed to have a gelatinous consistency and after much experimentation he arrived at the use of honey as a solution.

Moreover it was an added discovery that honey kept the paint moist which ensured that the paints were always ready-to-use.

For the moist paint-cake process, the paint was extruded in thick filaments, chopped into tablets, and then dried to the core.

The tablets or cakes were then wrapped in damp clothes to soften the outer crust ready for embossing with their trademark.

Read the next chapter 

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  • Today

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