I was gifted for my last birthday a beautiful Sennelier watercolor watercolor set. I've been using it for six months now, so I thought it might be a good time to do a review. I am not endorsed by Sennelier or receiving anything for this review.
Some of you may remember the review I did on the Winsor & Newton Cotman travel set and the problems I had with that. Well, this set does away with all of them. It is a nearly perfect set. Then again, it is an elite product in a wholly different category. A million times over worth the price difference between the two brands! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
A little background on this French brand: it was founded in 1887 by Gustave Sennelier to serve the famed artists living and working in Paris at that time (think Degas, Cezanne, Monet, Gauguin). He strove for excellence and worked closely with these artists to create and tailor his product lines. Truly, Sennelier is a brand made for professional artists. It is still owned and run in Paris by Gustave's grandson. A better history can be found at this page on the Savoir-Faire site.
The set comes stocked with burnt sienna, ultramarine deep, phthalo blue, warm sepia, lemon yellow, carmine, French vermillion, alizarin crimson, Payne's gray, phthalo green light, forest green, and dioxazine purple.
The whole set is cased in a durable metal case. The lid is divided by a formed metal hump to create two wells for mixing. The fold out leaf has little dimples for mixing or to add additional colors and folds back over the paints when closed and protects the pans. Every surface, except for the pans & pan clips, is coated in some sort of ceramic or powder coating. The plastic half pans are held in place the metal clips on a little metal platform. This platform can be removed, to swap out color palettes, or for cleaning perhaps, as the case isn't watertight. A little metal ring and four little feet on the back side complete the case. Overall size is roughly 4 7/8x2 3/4x3/4"—smaller than my iPhone 6. (Photos below are from the Savoir-Faire and Sennelier sites.)
I seriously love everything about this set.
These paints are so incredibly smooth, fluid, and pigment rich. They are the luxury sedan of the watercolor paint world. There is no chalky or grittiness to any of the colors, they are made purely without fillers or an imbalance of components.
I even love the case. The white coating is durable and super easy to clean. The only qualm I have with the case design is the lip around the edge of the lid where paint or water often gets caught. I understand it is a structural component that keeps the lid closed without a latch, but if I was being really picky, I'd want a smooth lid with an exterior latch.
Click on images above to enlarge.
I feel like this set is incredibly well-rounded without any odd-ball colors or "weak links." It's clear that everything about this was intentional and well thought out. The only colors I occasionally add using this set are permanent rose, indigo, and neutral tint. And that's mostly out of laziness.
This set makes me feel guilty for not using my old paints!
In the future, I might do a side-by-side of the Winsor & Newton colors, both Cotman and Professional, and this set so you can really see the difference in pigment and quality.