Virtual Watercolor
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updated Jan 23, 2023

The Virtual Museum of Watercolor gallery of:

American Made

Artists watercolors & boxed paint sets

1700 to 1890's 
This Virtual Museum is a collection of photographs. 
The items are shown for historical interest and are not for sale.
American Made
Artists watercolor paint box
by George C. Osborne
1830- 1840
Osborne was was one of the few 19th century American makers of artists paint.
Many artists of the time believed the especially vivid paint colors by Osborne to be equal or better to any made in Europe.
The paints for this Osborne paint box were made by George Osborne,
They were carried by Smith & Hodgson druggists which later became the Bullock & Crenshaw's Drug and chemical store,
in Philadelphia from 1820 to around the 1840's
This large box an earlier from 1830's to 1840's - and is almost identical to one used by Audubon
 The inside of the box is lined with an interesting marbled paper.

The paints shown inside the box are made by several American Makers in Philidelphia: Osborne, J. Boston, &
A.P. Homer

There are several paints by J Newman , to which the Osborne paint was favorably compaired (on label shown below)

Also of the period the box contains:

a chinese ink stick of the period

a conte` craon, one quil brush ,

a key that works the lock but the lock may not always work due to age.

a three well palette by Reeves & Sons

Also in the box no doubt later additions is:

a round ceramic water reservoir

In the bottom drawer of the box there is a flat american brand paint paette by the Devoe co. NY


Above is the trade card saying
The rest of the label are testimonials
Their boxes were available in Mahogany or Rosewood in sets of up to 72 colors.
This one is possibly Rosewood.


Two Blocks of Watercolor pint by "J.Boston Chymist Phila." (Philadelphia)Estimate made 1810-1840The blocks are larger than most full pan colors.: approximately. 20mm x 29mm & 5mm thickThey are heavy probably due to lead content: white lead and red lead colorsOther side is used with no markings.We have found no information on this maker.

Below are more American made watercolor blocks from the mid 1800'sBy A.P. Homer - Philadelphia. 

Osborne paints: two have a bit of the color name others show no markings

the one on the lower left shows chinese characters and is an ink stick. 

The size of the blocks vary, the large red one is about 3/8 wide x 1 inch long.


FW DEVOE & Co. palette late 1880's to the early 1900's4 3/4 by 6 inch approximately

Osborne made paints for other merchants:
Scholz' & Janentzky watercolour box around 1856 to 1860 with paint made by George W Osborne:
There are spaces for 24 colors of which 21 remain -most mostly unused.
Size: 7.75"W x 5.5" D by 0.75" H
Founded in 1856 by Julius Scholz and Charles Janentzky.
By 1876 they had changed to Janentzky & Co
In Philidelphia trade listings as: Address 112 South St., Philadelphia, PA.
manufacture by steam of the following articles, extra fine ...eagle watercolors
After Scholz's death in 1868 the company continued under the name of Janentzky & Co.
IN 1876 he admitted Frederick Weber as a partner.
The company gained a reputation of being one of the leaders of their trade in the United States.
The blocks shown below have a figure on one side and their name on the reverse.
American Made:
George C. Osborne watercolor boxed set
Manufactured by George C Osborne in Philadelphia
around 1827-30
The lid of this box slides out to reveal a wonderful of 10 different watercolors.
The colors won them an award for being as good as the best British made
paints of the time;as noted on the label not for sale
The re-wettable paint cakes have a embossed Eagle on one side and the name on the color on the back side.
Photo below showing the front and the back sides beneath.
The Osborne brand of watercolor paints were later made by John S Hodgkinson possibly around 1850s
Then Lewis Haehnlen took over manufacturing Osborne watercolor paints possibly around the 1860's
see the box below
American Made:
Osborne's Toy watercolors #16
Manufactured by Lewis Haehnlen in Philadelphia
around the1850's
The lid of this box slides out to reveal a wonderful child set of 12 different watercolors.
Some have a embossed bee hive motif , others have an American flag, a shield with stars over head or a ship.
the last line reads: "successor to John S Hodgkinson"
This small box measures approximately 5 inches long by 2 1/4 inches wide
Photo is not actual size


J Brutsche American Made Paint Box

J. Brutsche American Made Antique Paint box and Blocks c. 1850's
Blocks have shell and acorn motif on front and are marked Brutsche on the back.
the large block seems to have an animal motif and the small block seems to have a maritime motif- possibly of different manufacture
part of a quill brush and small glass mixing well is included
Joseph Brutsche 1804- 1888 : Migrated from Baden Germany to America in 1827 and Naturalized in 1831
was noted in the 1850 census : occupation -Water color Manufacturer in Philadelphia
Listed in Philadelphia City Directories 1855-1863 as a watercolor Manufacturer on 10th St.
Box is 1 3/4 x 5 x 3/4 inches photo enlarged for detail
To fill out the collection we are searching for more American boxes blocks
c. 2013 R M Bodoh
Below are more American made watercolor blocks from the mid 1800's
By A.P. Homer - Philadelphia.





    A Sussmann Art Materials Catalog c. 1892

    date stamped on cover and on the title page



    A Sussmann Art Materials Catalog c. 1892-

    an early American purveyor of

    Winsor Newton Watercolour paints and other imported brands.






(c)1985-2011 All original designs and photographs shown herein are and copyright protected.
(c) Copyright 1985- 2015 The Whimsie Studio, Larry Henke, Ronald Bodoh
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