Indispensable warm primary, this splendid 19th century invention will make violets with any cool red and is ideal for creating dark neutrals with brown earths. Gorgeous, rich deep blue, substantial, fully pigmented and highly addictive.
The color “Ultramarine” has been around since the early Renaissance, named for its origin since Ultramarine, unlike Azurite, was made from genuine Lapis Lazuli and was coming into Europe “from beyond the sea.” In 1824, France sponsored a prize to encourage invention of a process by which an artificial version could be produced and sold at a low cost but also not based on Cobalt or Prussian blues. There became two “Ultramarine” blues, one natural (the Lapis) and one artificial (the French), when in 1828, the French chemist Jean Baptiste Guimet was awarded that prize for his invention, gave out trial samples to well know artists, and started a factory in 1830 to produce the pigment. Leading color makers began introducing this “new” Ultramarine in the following years which became known as “French Ultramarine” or sometimes called “French Blue” quickly replacing Lapis Lazuli as a brilliant clear blue.
Our Ultramarine Blue is carefully handcrafted from the very best quality modern pigment, not Lapis Lazuli. Although both versions of Ultramarine share the same pigment code of PB 29, the French invention is almost always what is in the tube and recognizable by its reasonable cost. We think it is more important to make the best possible Ultramarine from this modern pigment, which is not easy to do, than to produce one from the historic Lapis Lazuli which would be prohibitive in price and not as pure as the Renaissance blue, since that source material is no longer of this earth.