As an avowed bargain hunter, I take great pleasure in browsing the rich and varied offerings of the local charity shops. Sadly it’s something I rarely have the time or opportunity to do much of these days (which is probably no bad thing!). I did, however, have a few spare moments the other day and found myself immersed in a small stack of old copies of the Leisure Painter. I was leafing through them in a slightly aimless fashion, mainly paying note to any of the cover headlines to see if any artists that I’m particularly interested in were featured. This November 1996 issue caught my eye because it had John Yardley’s name on the cover.
On leafing through this, what caught my eye was not the John Yardley feature, but some of the small ads.
Surprisingly, one of the most visited pages or posts on this site is from when I purchased my first Frazer Price Palette Box. The reason I think it’s so well visited is that when someone uncovers or inherits one of these relative rarities, who may often have no interest in painting, they google the name to find out a little more and I think my blog post comes up on the search results. Or, if someone sees one advertised for sale, they do the same and end up finding my post. For as many queries that appear in the comments section, I’ve had just as many ‘private’ enquiries – more often than not seeking advice or thoughts on how much it might be worth!
There’s even one listed on ebay right now that actually quotes brushes with watercolour in the description! (please note that this link may cease to work after the auction has ended!)
So it was this original advert for the Frazer Price Palette Box in the Leisure Painter that particularly caught my eye:
I think I did mention this in my previous post but, as this is something I find quite fascinating, here it is again! This was originally sold for £35. Using the Bank of England online inflation calculator – the equivalent cost for this in 2016 would have been £60.29 (or approx $79). While I have seen these change hands on ebay for much more than this – I’ve also seen some snapped up for not much more than the price of 20 years of inflation!
In the same issue, there was another add for the much coveted Craig Young Paint Box.
As you can see, back in 1996 these were available for £150. In today’s currency, that now equates to £258.39. To buy a new one direct, based on current prices, would cost £280. While this is still a whole lot of money to spend on a watercolour palette, it’s only just above the inflation price of 20 years ago, which I think really puts it into perspective.
As for my Frazer Price Palette Box – it’s still much loved, but little used! I still tend to use my Holbein 500 palette for most of my painting. That’s not to say however that I haven’t used the Frazer Price Box at all! In fact, I’ve customised it a little just to suit my own personal preferences a little more!
Originally, in the main left hand compartment, there was a mini water container that had a couple of recesses on it for washes, and a couple of small wells for water for washing brushes in.
I found that both of these were a little too small for my needs, so I have removed these and replaced them with some more generous / deep compartments for mixing paint in, and I bought a water container (that came as part of a set of three from Jacksons Art Supplies) that hangs perfectly on the side of the palette box and enables me to work with much more water.
Even seeing this photo makes me want to use this more! Happily, I’ll be off on my summer vacation in the next few weeks and this will definitely be coming with me!
Are there any other Frazer Price devotees out there? What’s your palette of choice? Who knows, it’s never too late to add another one to my collection!