Part of a recent paint buy included a tube of Cranfield’s King’s blue deep, which I’d bought in order to review. The Cranfield brand is new to me and King’s blue is not a palette regular but I like to try new paint brands and colors.
Cranfield is a British firm that originally produced printing inks. Not too long ago they bought the British paint maker Spectrum. I’ve never used Spectrum either. Along with Spectrum’s stock of paint, oils, and recipes, Cranfield acquired 3 grinding mills. Cranfield attributes their paint quality to the mills. Cranfield still makes printing inks.
I’ve used the Cranfield paint several times now. Their King’s blue is strongly pigmented and opaque; it handles well. This tube color is a blend of titanium white, zinc white, and sodium aluminum silicate. Titanium white can easily overpower a color but Cranfield has kept it in check with this color. Many low-end and student-grade brands ruin colors by overusing titanium.
Cranfield’s pricing is middle-level. On Blick, the paints range from $8.64 to $34.56. By contrast, the mid-range Winsor Newton prices run from $6.65 – $52.55. Cranfield’s cerulean blue is priced at $33.92, while Winsor Newton’s is only $16.55. Both manufacturers offer a single pigment color–cobalt stannate. Why is Cranfield’s twice as much? Is it twice as good? More heavily pigmented perhaps? I can’t answer that question without more testing. By the way, the high-end brand Old Holland wants $74.31 (!) for cerulean blue.
The tube of King’s blue deep is good enough that I plan to try additional colors including cerulean blue. I like their covering strength and pigment load.
On the negative side, Cranfield offers a modest range of colors. Another negative is that they do not produce the all-important lead white. Finally, I could not find a reference to their paint binder. If it was high quality, they’d probably highlight it.
I’ve updated the oil paint reference.