Brushes review: Winsor Newton series 7 vs Rosemary and Co

I’ve been using brushes from Winsor & Newton series 7 for over two years now. I think it’s a good time for me to write a brushes review.
In fact it’s been the same lot of brushes all this time, and that’s quite big thing, that they have lasted so long and kept a really good shape. I guess it’s one of the best recommendations I can give to the Winsor & Newton brushes, especially because I don’t really treat them too good….

Unfortunately though, nothing lasts forever, and I’ve noticed recently that my brushes are dying on me slowly, losing the shape and point. So I was forced to buy new ones. And because I like to experiment a bit from time to time, I decided to give a try to Rosemary & Co brushes series 33. I read a lot of good stuff about them and they are fairly cheap compared to Winsor & Newton series 7, and way more easily available in the UK than Raphael brushes, so I thought, “why not”?

I received them a few days ago and already had a chance to try them. I’m still not sure yet if I’m gonna love them or hate them, but because I know that choosing a right brush is very personal thing and things that aren’t working for me could be awesome for someone else, I’m not gonna judge here, instead I’ll try compare both sets I have in hand.

The competitors

Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sabre.

Size: 00, 0 and 1

Winsor & Newton website.

Brushes review: Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co. (1)

Hand made brushes for water colour & gouache. Known in our miniature world as one of the best, Winsor & Newton made quite an effort to describe them for us in detail, so I’ll just show you some links: Here’s a short description of Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes and here you can find a description of making Winsor & Newton Series 7 Brushes.

Winsor & Newton series 7 brushes come in two series: standard and miniature, the difference between them is the size of brush head, miniature are shorter and I prefer those, but like I said, this is a very personal view.

Rosemary & Co Pure Kolinsky Sabre, Series 33 Pure Kolinsky Pointed

Size: 00, 0 and 1

Rosemary & Co website

Brushes review: Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co. (2)

There is not as much detailed information about these brushes, but as the manufacturer states, they are also handmade from the finest Kolinsky hair.

I read that for miniature painting two series are the best: Series 33 Pointed and Series 22 Designer. I decided to buy Series 33.

Ok, time for some actual comparison

On the picture below you can find accordingly from the top: W&N series7 and Rosemary & Co size 00, 0 and 1 (the top brush met my cat at some point and you can see how lucky I was that Mr Bombel decided to eat the rear end of the brush).

Brushes review: Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co. (3)

As you can see the Rosemary & Co brushes have slightly shorter handle and visibly longer brush head (all of my brushes are short handle, but then Winsor & Newton only comes like this, with Rosemary & Co for an extra few pennies, you can choose a longer handle).

The difference in the shape of brush heads is even more visible on the close up below:

Brushes review: Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co. (4)
From left hand side: R&C 1,W&N 1, R&C 0, W&N 0, R&C 00 and W&N 00.

W&N series 7 (miniature I believe) are more triangular in shape, significantly shorter, and seem a bit more solid, but still pointy at the end (remember I’ve been using them for over two years!). Rosemary & Co are slimmer and longer, and thanks to that seem to be a bit bigger than the equivalent from Winsor & Newton7. It’s especially visible with size 00.

When it comes to painting, the longer hair in the Rosemary & Co brush seems to be softer than Winsor & Newton7 head, and gives you different level of precision (it’s hard to say if it’s better or worse – just different).

I understand that sizes can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and everyone needs to choose sizes that fit them best within every range, but I guess the pictures of brush heads will give you some ideas what you can expect:

Brushes review: Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co. (5)
Size 1
Brushes review: Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co. (6)
Size 0
Brushes review: Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co. (7)
Size 00

Brushes review: conclusion

I can’t judge the endurance of Rosemary & Co brushes so far (ask me in two years), and I can’t tell you what’s good for you when it comes to the shape of the brush head, so there is no conclusion as such:)

I can only tell you that for me, I’m more comfortable with the shorter hair, so I’m probably gonna buy a new set of Winsor & Newton series 7 pretty soon (with maybe extra brush or two – size 2 or 3, for larger scale miniatures). It’s absolutely not because Rosemary & Co are worse brushes, they’re just not for me. However, if you prefer longer hair then these might be the brushes for you.

At this point, the only thing I can think of that Rosemary & Co brushes may be better at than Winsor & Newton series 7 for me personally, might be freehands. They gather more paint in them (due to their shape), so they should allow longer strokes between refilling paint. But at the moment it’s just speculation, I haven’t tried them this way yet.

I hope this short article will help you make a more conscious decision when it comes to buying new brushes, especially if you need to buy them online, without checking how they feel in your hand. If you have any comments about the differences between these brushes or your favourite ones, please share with us, so we can all learn more.


— ‘eM

8 thoughts on “Brushes review: Winsor Newton series 7 vs Rosemary and Co”

  1. Although I prefer Raphael brushes, I must admit that they’re one of the more difficult brands to buy unless you live in France. Fortunately French internet shops ship abroad 🙂
    And there are quite a few American stores for those of you who don’t mind having their brushes shipped from the US.

    I think I might like Rosemary brushes for their long bristles.
    Unfortunately we found that quality of Winsor & Newton series 7 brushes is not what is used to be. Maybe they will return to their former good quality, but until then I will keep using othe brushes.

  2. I’ve been using the Rosemary ones with Vallejo paints for about 6 months now [my brother swears by sables – the cost always made me baulk!] having switched from acrylic brushes which always turned up at the point after about 2 uses
    I’m very impressed – they cost less than the acrylics, the company was very easy to deal with and very helpful on the phone & the delivery was very quick
    [I’m mainly painting 28mm figures using a size 3 brush – occassionally a size 2 for detail – don’t think I’ve used the size 1 – of course my painting is not that great but …]
    Would I go back to acrylics – no way!
    I find they keep a point well, hold paint nicely [it doesn’t run up to the furrel] and clean up easily [I’m idle with that – I tend to only wash them out with soap about once a month – otherwise its a slosh of cold water and a quick lick]
    Personally I’m convinced – but I’ll be interesting to hear your views on your long term use

  3. I’ve been using WN Series 7 brushes since 1984. They are pretty much my go-to brush when I need precision work… but I’ll use most anything when I just need to slop some paint around. I keep hearing about how good the Raphael brushes are so I might give them a try next time I’m ordering from Blick. The Rosemary brushes look to be just a bit too long for me. I might get used to them, but I could just see the new brushes sitting unused as my hand avoids them in favor of brushes that I know I’ll be more comfortable with. It’s happened with experimental brushes before.

    On the other hand.. their prices are tempting. Of course, I’ve always felt that one gets what one pays for when it comes to brushes. I’ve never bought a brush and thought “wow, this cheap brush is really good!” Sadly, the one thing I would want to hear about these brushes that would seal the deal is about their longevity. It’s one of the things that I love about my W/N brushes. I still have brushes that are 13 years old that are still useful. Those brushes are in sizes I rarely use – but still.

  4. You can buy Raphael brushes in online shops from UK, for example:
    they sell few lines of Raphael and W&N bushes, and it should be easier to deal with the website made by someone else than french:P
    I’m not objective here, as I live in UK, but I find shipping costs in most of the french (and german) stores ridiculously high.

    When it comes to the quality of W&N7 brushes I’m not sure what I can tell you. I got one set for over two years now and, even though I don’t treat them to good, they’re still good enough to paint. Maybe I was lucky…

      1. Yes, I do live in London, and I do visit Darksphere from time to time. In fact I’ll be there on 20/01/2013;]
        Did we met there already?


  5. @Marta – I wanted to place an order with GreatArt but they only ship to the UK, and the only chance of getting an overseas order is calling them directly. I found French stores easier to deal with and better supplied.

    Previously we used to order from Jackson Art but they have neverending problems with keeping full range of Raphael brushes in stock, so our orders usually arrived incomplete.

    @Jay – remember that all the praises about Raphaels don’t mean they have to suit you better. Especially if you’re not too fond of Rosemary’s longer bristles.

    Many people here, usually beginners, start with very cheap brushes – like for 1-1.5 EUR per brush, and then they’re completely amazed how much difference can a good brush make. Plus if you take good care of your brushes they can last pretty long, so the cost of a good brush is usually justified.

  6. you mey alvays go for Rembrandt brushes pure red Sable made by Talents – they return leatly to they old good quality, when it come to bristle tyle they made similar to rosmary 1 – a longer ones
    longlivity of thous – um a 2 years ?? for a good 1 – end that the problem i got with this brushes – they reqire a checking befor buing for quality – you mey always get bad 1 from back feve years when quality drops – but over all they cost half of W&N

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.