The Little Brass Box Company is a one-man artisanal workshop producing some of the finest solid brass paintboxes in the world. John Hurtley, the man behind the Little Brass Box Company, makes all of his brass paintboxes by hand in his U.K. home studio. After placing an order last spring, and waiting several months on a waitlist while saving money for it, I now count myself as the lucky owner of one of these little brass boxes. You can imagine my excitement when it came in the mail yesterday!
John's most popular palette is the Roberson palette, but he actually makes a variety of watercolor palettes. I was originally going to get a Roberson palette. However, I later realized that with my nomadic lifestyle a travel palette would be more useful to me at this point in time.
There are several reasons why I wanted to get this palette:
- Durability -- As I began getting into minimalism a couple of years ago, my mindset began to shift to buy fewer things but of higher quality. This palette is made of solid brass, and since brass doesn't rust, I anticipate that this palette will hold up very well over time. Now that I've been able to play with it, I can really appreciate its solid construction.
- Portability -- As you can see from one of the pictures below, the Little Brass Box travel palette is about two thirds of the size of my Schmincke palette, which is already quite small. It's perfect for carrying anywhere and everywhere. I can easily see myself slipping it into a pocket as well as a bag. Currently, I find myself without a dedicated studio space. This means that my studio is wherever I find myself, hence having a portable palette becoming a big asset.
- Artisanal Quality -- I find that there's a special quality about items that have been handmade. I can only imagine the love, hard work, and dedication that goes into making such a box, and it is something you can feel when you touch it. Its beautifully crafted solid brass construction makes it reminiscent of a bygone era, evoking the poetic romanticism of the nineteenth century -- filling my head with visions of England's Lake District.
Before getting the palette I only had one minor concern, which related to the closing mechanism of the box. For example, my Holbein palette doesn't stay closed very well, so it seems better suited for home or studio use. I am happy to report that the Little Brass Box travel palette closes very securely, and even makes a satisfying click.
The palette itself is really rather tiny, about the size of a Zippo lighter. I got it in Cirrus blue, which I thought would be a bit more of a baby sky blue, but in person I find it more of a turquoise color. It is still a gorgeous and cheerful color, and in any case, it's refreshing to have a palette that isn't black! Also, notice the ring on the bottom -- it is pleasantly thick and sturdy!
If you're considering getting a brass palette from Little Brass Box Company, I highly recommend it. John provided excellent customer service, promptly attending to any and all communications. The craftsmanship is wonderful, and this is a product that I'm sure will serve me well for many years to come. It also feels good to support small businesses, especially those dedicated to continuing special, unique, or traditional crafts. I'll have to give my new palette a name at some point! For now, I'm really looking forward to filling it up with paint and taking it for a spin. 🌻