Rosemary & Co are one of the leading British brushmakers with probably the largest range, the other specialists being Pro Arte who are major and smaller operations like Luxartis. Pro Arte are strongly represented in British art shops whereas Rosemary, who is the main brushmaker, sells only by mail order and at Art events. I think there may be one or two smaller operations as well. Of course companies like Winsor & Newton, who are famous for Series 7, and Daler Rowney also offer brushes but where are they made these days? I believe Rosemary also makes some own label brushes.
Originally Rosemary and her then husband ran ABS brushes and when they parted she soon started again as Rosemary & Co. The catalogue was virtually identical but has now been expanded and is very comprehensive with a huge range covering all types of brushes and mediums. She has a large and loyal following of British and overseas artists and works closely with a number in developing brushes.
The catalogue, approximately 6 1/2 by 9 1/2, has 95 pages in full colour. It offers 18 different types plus travel brushes and some speciality brushes. She also offers two special sets with artists names attached, something I'm not too enthused about. She's also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube! Brushes within the UK are free postage over £40, otherwise £2 and there are other rates for next day delivery and bulk orders. Current prices overseas are listed on her website. www.rosemaryandco.com
As you can see the information is extensive and there is much useful stuff about brushes, what they are for and how to maintain them. The catalogue is a mine of information.
Series 8 Kolinsky were a favourite with many artists but Kolinsky prices are now really only for the very well-healed or top artists. For amateurs to pay these prices, especially with a restricted budget, is difficult to justify. The obvious choice is Red Sable with a Size 8 round £11.59p, compared to £39.95p for Kolinsky Series 8 round. There may be a difference but I doubt it would be much to most artists. She also offers a range of synthetics that are very good.
I have, in the past, paid a lot of money for brushes but not at the current eye-watering prices. I have enough new ones to keep me going BUT should I have to buy any more (unlikely) I would choose
Red Sable blend, a mixture of animal hair and synthetics. This is Series 401/402 in rounds with a Size 8 costing £6.90p to £7.30p! Rounds, Daggers , Riggers, Sword Liners and One Stroke are also offered in this blend.
The best artist in my Avon valley Artists group is Yvonne Harry, who mainly paints flowers, and can compare with most professionals. She mostly used Pro Arte synthetics , often purchased as seconds at art events, but was persuaded to try Jacksons own label sables (made by Rosemary?). She didn't like them saying she found them too soft. However recently she tried the Rosemary 401 series and has really taken to them. Although this is fairly recent she likes the better stiffness with the mixed blend and also likes the way they point well. Should I have to buy any more brushes they would be my choice.