26 February
Friday, 26 February 2021 N/A Office Supplies & Toys
This lovely French Pen Painting Box was discovered in the archive and set us off researching the origin of ‘pen painting’. This led to a few interesting discoveries! Firstly, this set was a response by Winsor & Newton to the expansion of new technology: photography. Photography was becoming a more accessible way to capture an image and that was impacting the sales of art materials. Therefore Winsor & Newton launched this pen painting set which was intended to create ‘paintings’ from photos through a process of stencilling.
Based on Poonah painting, which was a style of working with thick, opaque paints in flat colours on thin paper, these pigments could be mixed on the spot to create dense, rich colours. Poonah painting was generally of botanical subjects and referenced Asian art but in this case, the set was designed to create hybrid works that were made in the Poonah style but used photography. Beginning with a photo, a stencil could be traced and cut from thin paper, one for each colour. Then the stencils layered up, colour by colour, to create a painting based on the photo.​
Rare book sites show that our pen sets were supported by a manual on how to use them, published either by Winsor & Newton in collaboration with artist Cécile Francis-Lewis or self-published by Francis-Lewis and sold by Winsor & Newton.
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