Review: Barry Herniman's Cloverleaf Paintbox

Review sample on loan from Straits Art

Barry Herniman is a painter and art instructor based in UK. He's also the author of several artbooks. If you want to learn more about him, definitely check out his book Barry Herniman's Travelling Sketchbook which unfortunately is already out of print.

The Cloverleaf Paintbox is a watercolour palette box designed by Herniman more than ten years ago. I've seen this design online for a long time and finally saw it in store at Straits Art, a local art store in Singapore.


There are a few variations of the paint box internal configuration. The two I'm featuring are the earliest models. One's the paint box with mixing and paint wells, the other is a box just for storing paint. The prices are SGD $79.50 and $59 respectively. It's £47.99 on Jackson's Art. It's also available on Etsy.


The box measures 12.5 x 12.5cm when closed, and it's quite thick at 4.2cm.


The cover is a huge well, and there are four smaller mixing wells on the two flaps, and a flat mixing surface. The paint holding tray can be removed so that you can clean the insides of the box easily.


If you're thinking of fitting the common half and full watercolour pans into the slots of the tray, you can't since the sizes are different.

And that's where the removeable tray design is smart because now there are trays that can fit the half pan. You can see the half pan model in the video above from Mind of Watercolor.


This paintbox is designed for outdoor or plein air painting. There's an area for your thumb to grip on comfortably. And since the paintbox is made of plastic, it's lightweight.

There are 13 large wells and 1 small one for holding the paint. Those wells are deep so you can hold a lot of paint. I probably won't put paint into the small well as it's too close to the thumb and things can get messy.

The downside of this design is if you want to change a colour, you have to clean out the well.


The tray that can hold half pans is more convenient when it comes to swapping out colours. You can fit 26 half pans, or 13 full pans.


This is the paintbox that just holds paint. The corners have holes for holding brushes.

This watercolour paintbox is well designed and well made. The main advantage is the wells are deep so you can hold a lot of paint so this paintbox will probably benefit those who paint large paintings. Those who paint on smaller size paper and sketchbooks should go with smaller watercolour boxes.

Video review

Here's my 4-min video review

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