Spotlight on Vandyke Brown
Vandyke Brown proved a popular colour in the 17th century and was notably used by the Flemish painter Van Dyke in many of his paintings. Today, the formulations for Artists' Oil Colour and Winton Oil Colour stay as true as possible to the original (bituminous earth with burnt umber) while the other colour ranges, due to the unsuitability of the pigment when mixed with some binders, are a mixture of calcined natural iron oxide mixed with a black pigment.
Made from an earth pigment, the colour of Vandyke Brown can vary greatly between different brands. Winsor & Newton have tried to keep as close as possible to their colour charts dating from the 19th century to achieve a genuine Vandyke Brown. It is a useful brown, often used for shading.