Memorial to a Paintbrush

Have you ever had a tool that made painting a better experience for you, something that you just couldn’t do without? Until you found out, one day, you would have to do without.


The Royal & Langnickel Royal Sable brush. I always thought of it as the brush with the funny name. It wasn’t sable at all, didn’t even look like sable, but was  made from badger hair.

It was the badger hair that made it special; not as soft as a sable, or as stiff as bristle. It held it’s own pushing around oil paint, but with much more sensitivity than a bristle hair brush. A quick plunge in the thinner and it let go of all traces of color, a wipe on a cloth, left it dry and crisp ready for the next stroke.

Back order, out of stock …and the words I didn’t want to see discontinued. To add insult to injury it had been replaced by the new, nylon, Royal & Langnickel Royal SableTek.


Seems like there’s been a population explosion of nylon brushes at the art supply store lately. They’ve muscled out racks of natural hair paint brushes, dyed to look like sable, squirrel and badger, the performance of a nylon brush with oil paint is a sad thing to see.

Has anyone else lost a favorite painting tool to mass production and increased profit margins?

My woodworker husband John wrote a blog on this very subject, the cheapening of the craftsman’s tools.

Royal & Langnickel Royal Sable, the Tek will never replace you, I will miss you my old friend….

On a happier note, my first painting from last weeks hike at Red Rock Canyon-

Southwest of Red Rock by Diane Eugster


4 Replies to “Memorial to a Paintbrush”

  1. Nice painting Diane. I did read John’s blog on the the cheapening of tools and nylon synthetics seem, sadly, to be in abundance. I’ve seen a lot of postings about Rosemary & co. online and the brushes they carry. Seems quite a few artists like the line of brushes they carry. A good fair well salute to a fine line of brushes.


  2. I know what you mean Diane. Some of the good brushes just aren’t as good as they used to be or have disappeared altogether. I used to love the Robert Simmons Titaniums, but the workmanship has gone downhill on those. I love the Rosemary brushes and when I have a few dollars I don’t need I order a few from across the pond. But I find her Ivory brushes to be a bit too stiff for my work most of the time and the Master mongoose brushes can be a bit unruly when it comes to the hairs.

    One brush that I have become quite attached to are the Blick Master Synthetics (long red handle). I am finding them to be the brush I reach for 80% of the time and with a lifetime guarantee you can’t go wrong with them. They are not too stiff or soft, just right for my tastes. Honey Bunny asked me what I wanted for my birthday in a couple of weeks and I said I wanted to go to the Blick store and pick up five or six new brushes.

    Oh, and by the way, it’s “bristle,” not bristol. Bristol is a kind of paper. Bristle is a hog’s hair. 🙂


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