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