Review: A. Gallo handmade watercolour

Big thanks to A. Gallo Colors for sponsoring this watercolour box set for this review. When the company contacted me asking if I'm interested to review the watercolour, I said they could send anything. I was expecting a 12-half pan box but received the 48-pan box and so I was quite surprised.

A. Gallo Colors is a company started by Alina Gallo and is based in Assisi, Italy. The company sells handmade watercolour products such as watercolour pans, brushes, pocket brushes, palettes, paper and sketchbooks.

At the time of this review, they have 66 colours in their watercolour line. Sample dot cards are available for purchase (€35).

The watercolour paints are made in small batches and sold monthly. When the paint is sold out, you'll have to wait for next month's restock (date provided on their website).

The three box sets available are:

  • 12 half pan set (with pocket mop brush included) - €100
  • 24 half pan set (with mop brush included) - €185
  • 48 half pan set (with mop brush included) - €345

Individual half pans are also available for sale from €9.

Pricing for the box sets is definitely on the higher side compared to other more popular watercolour brands.

48-pan set is good if you want to sample more colours. The smaller 12 and 24-pan sets are better for use outdoors. Having too many colours can be overwhelming for beginners so the 12 or 24-pan sets are better as starter sets.

This 48-pan set comes with a handmade linen bag and this thick printed paper holder.

There's a gold foil sticker on the paper holder and on the box.

Also included in the box is a Tintoretto Linea Feltracco size #0 mop brush with synthetic squirrel hair.

A size #0 squirrel brush is quite similar to a typical size #10 round brush. This is a nice brush but probably too big for the small half pans. You'll definitely need to get a smaller brush for more control over painting details and smaller areas. You probably don't want to use a big brush to soak all the paint to paint small areas.

These are handmade paint made with raw pigments, gum arabic binder and Umbrian honey from Italy. The paints are eco-friendly and do not contain cadmium, cobalt, lead and mercury. Pigment is added to binder, mulled, and poured into pans over several pouring sessions.

All the pans are filled to the brim, actually slightly above the brim.

All the pans are wrapped individually with thick watercolour paper-like wrapper.

I'm quite surprised no wax paper was used. The pans are dried nicely.

There's no sticky surface so most pans can be easily pushed out from the wrapper. Name of the colour and pigments used are on the label. There's also pigment info written on the side fo the pans.

These watercolour pans are good because they rewet well and the colours are vibrant.

The colour chart included is printed on Arches watercolour paper. The ink used is waterproof, thankfully. Only names of the colours are included, but not the pigments so you may want to write those down yourself.

Having a colour chart for large box sets is useful because it's so easy to forget what some colours are, and it also provides a quite reference to how the colours look.

Almost all the colours have rather high tinting strength. You just need to use a bit of paint to produce intense colours. Even colours like Lapis Lazuli and Malachite which are considered paler colours have the full-strength look. FYI, Daniel Smith's washed-out Lapis Lazuli is nowhere near the version A. Gallo has.

These are the colours in this set:

  • Lemon yellow (PY3) - Very good lightfastness
  • Royal yellow (PY154) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Azo yellow gold (PY151, PY43) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Indian yellow (PY154, PY110) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Arancione (PY83, PV19, PR101) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Vermilion red (PR255) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Scarlet red (PR254) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Permanent carmine (PV19) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Ruby red (PR264) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Opera rose (PR122) - Very good lightfastness
  • Potter’s pink (PR233) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Quin. red-gold (PO48) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Perylene maroon (PR179)- Excellent lightfastness
  • Mineral violet (PV16) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Dioxazine violet (PV37) - Very good lightfastness
  • Ultramarine violet (PV15) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Indanthrone blue (PB60) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Transparent cerulean (PB15:3) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Aquamarine (PB15:4, PG7) -Excellent lightfastness
  • Teal blue (PW6, PB15:3, PG7) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Copper blue (PW4, PG7, PB15:3, PY3) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Zirconium blue (PB71) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Lapis lazuli - genuine, extra fine - Excellent lightfastness
  • Ultramarine blue (PB29) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Fig green (PY151, PG17) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Malachite, eco-friendly - eggshells, pigment blend -Very good lightfastness
  • Viridian hue (PG7, PB29) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Sap green (PG36, PY83, PV19, PR101) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Chromium oxide green (PG17) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Buckthorne berry green (NG2) - Moderate lightfastness
  • Verdaccio (PBr8, PBk11) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Green umber (PBr8) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Olive green deep (PB29, PY154, PY110) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Green earth, warm (PG23) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Green earth, cool (PG23) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Slate gray (PBk19) - - Excellent lightfastness
  • Buff titanium (PW6:1) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Italian gold ochre (PY43) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Moroccan yellow ochre (PY43) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Raw sienna, Badia (PY43) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Castile Orange (PY43, PR102) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Ercolano red (PR101) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Sartorio red (PR101/102) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Burnt umber (Cyprus PBr8) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Morellone (PR102) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Burnt umber, dark (PBr7) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Payne's grey (PB15:1, PBk7, PV19) - Excellent lightfastness
  • Ivory black (PBk9)- Excellent lightfastness

A. Gallo's colour naming system is slightly different from other brands so it's best to look at the pigment code instead. E.g. Vermilion Red uses PR255 whereas other brands may use PR188 for Vermilion. And PR255 is sometimes known as Pyrrol Scarlet.

There are some uncommon colours or pigments, such as Zirconium blue (PB71) from Blue Zircon, Malachite and Buckthorne berry green (NG2).

Unfortunately on A. Gallo's website, there's no mention of watercolour properties such as transparency, staining ability and granulation. Only the lightfast quality is listed. So if you want to find out more about the properties of certain pigments, maybe visit

Let's go through all the colours in this 48-pan set. Click the pictures for a larger view (2000px wide).

Lemon Yellow PY3
PY3 is a marginally lightfast, semitransparent cool yellow. According to, PY3 can fade with two months of light exposure. If you're using this in sketchbooks, it's alright but it's not recommended to use this for display art. Alina Gallo told me their Lemon Yellow will be replaced with Bismuth yellow PY184 (semi-opaque) in the future.

Royal Yellow (PY154)
Benzimidazolone yellow PY154 is a lightfast, staining, intense yellow. This is safe choice as a mid yellow.

Azo Yellow (PY151, PY43)
Benzimidazolone yellow PY151 is a lightfast, staining, intense yellow. This colour actually may look similar to PY154. PY43 is added here so this yellow is slightly warmer but I would still consider this to be a mid yellow.

Indian Yellow (PY154, PY110)
This is a safe choice for a warm yellow. Both PY154 and Isoindolinone yellow PY110 are lightfast pigments.

Arancione (PY83, PV19, PR101)
This is an even warmer yellow, an orange really.

Vermilion Red (PR255)
PR255 is also know as Pyrrole scarlet. This is a lightfast, semi-transparent, staining warm red.

Scarlet Red (PR254)
PR254 is also known as Pyrrole red. This is a lightfast, semi-opaque, staining red.

Permanent Carmine (PV19)
PV19 is a lightfast cool red. It's a classic choice for cool reds.

Ruby Red (PR264)
Pyrrole rubine PR264 is a lightfast, semi-transparent, staining, dark and deep red. This colour is more mute and won't be able to produce vibrant secondary colours.

Opera Rose (PR122)
Opera Rose is a common name used to describe extremely vibrant, but fugitive, rose colours. Quinacridone magenta PR122 is semi-transparent, staining, red violet. Handprint has tested this pigment to show good lightfast quality. This is a classic magenta choice and should really be called magenta instead of Opera or a Rose.

Potter's Pink (PR233)
PR233 is a semi-transparent, granulating light-valued rose pink.

Quin Red Gold (PO48)
PO48 is also known as Quinacridone orange, a lightfast, transparent, staining, dark valued, intense earth orange pigment.

Perylene Maroon (PR179)
Perylene Maroon is supposed to be a deep red but it's difficult to see here as this version is quite dull.

Mineral Violet (PV16)
PV16 is supposed to be Manganese Violet, a lightfast, semi-transparent, lightly staining, red violet. This is a lovely colour.

Dioxazine Violet (PV37)
Dioxazine Violet is lightfast, semi-transparent, heavily staining, very dark valued, dull violet pigment. This is the alternate to PV23 which is also commonly called Dioxazine Violet.

Ultramarine Violet (PV15)
This is a lightfast, semi-transparent, moderately staining, violet.

Indanthrone Blue (PB60)
PB60 is a lightfast, staining dark blue.

Transparent Cerulean (PB15:3)
This is Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), a lightfast, staining cool blue.

Aquamarine (PB15:4, PG7)
This is a lovely blue with a hint of green.

Teal Blue (PW6: PG7, PB15:3)
The presence of PW6 makes this mixture somewhat opaque. It looks like a Cerulean Blue but not as vibrant. This is a muted teal.

Copper Blue (PW4, PG7, PB15:3, PY3)
This is a light-valued teal-like colour.

Zirconium Blue (PB71)
This is light-valued granulating blue that can be alternative to Cerulean or Manganese blue.

Lapis Lazuli
This is a light-valued granulating blue made from the precious stone.

Ultramarine Blue (PB29)
This is the popular classic warm blue. The granulation for this version is not obvious.

Buff Titanium (PW6:1)
This is a semi-transparent off-white cream colour great for painting anything off-white.

Italian Gold Ochre (PY43)
This is a lovely yellow ochre.

Moroccan Yellow Ochre (PY43)
This is a warmer yellow ochre.

Raw Sienna, Badia (PY43)
This is even warmer than the Italian and Moroccan ochres. It looks exactly like the Raw Sienna I have in mind.

Castile Orange (PY43, PR102)
This is a more muted orange earth colour.

Ercolano Red (PR101)
PR101 can be made into many different colours. This is a reddish earth colour.

Santorio Red (PR101)
This would be the Burnt Sienna alternative. Some Burnt Siennas from other companies actually use PR101 instead of the PBr7.

Burnt Umber Dark (PBr7)
As the name suggest, this is the darker version of Burnt Umber. It looks kinda like Van Dyke Brown, or dark chocolate.

Burnt Umber, Cyprus (PBr8)
PBr8 is also known as Manganese brown. This is a good version of Burnt Umber.

Morellone (PR102)
This is an opaque colour that looks like Indian Red. It looks like a much duller version of PR264.

Payne's Grey (PB15:1, PBk7, PV19)
This is a nice grey with a cool tint.

Ivory Black (PBk9)
Bone or Ivory Black is a lightfast, semitransparent, staining, slightly textured black.

Here's a sketch painted with the A. Gallo watercolour. Click for a larger view.

Colours are vibrant. They rewet well, flow well, layer well. It's easy to use wet on wet techniques on the right paper.

Quality of A. Gallo watercolour is top notch, definitely artist grade quality. They are quite pricey though compared to other more popular watercolour brands. You can decide whether they are worth the money for you. You may be able to find discount codes on their Facebook page.

Coupon code for 10% off

Use coupon code TEOHYC10 for 10% off any purchase.



I'm going to be harsh here,

I'm going to be harsh here, Teoh, and point out the elephant in the room. This is a strange product. Are there any vaguely serious watercolour artists anywhere that would rather have 48 half pans than 24 full pans? Full pans >> half pans. 24 colours >> 48 colours. Seems that Gallo's target market is non-artists buying paint sets as presents for artists - they're the only people that I can think of getting excited at the prospect of 48 colours.

Ever since Sade, of "Sadie

Ever since Sade, of "Sadie Saves the Day" reviewed these, a couple years ago, I've been dying to try them out. But Teoh, you've outdone her, with these gorgeous swatching photos. It really gives a person the chance to examine each paint up close. Their Cerulean and earth reds are gorgeous. And I love that they included a Copper Blue! If I can ever score some of their individual pans, at least I can narrow the field to a few unique colors to try, so thank you!

I really appreciate the

I really appreciate the detail that you put into this review and the others that you do.

Many years ago I took a watercolor class in college as part of a graphic design/illustration program and, while it was very good from a creative standpoint, it did not provide nearly the depth that you do with regards to the technical aspects on how to choose and use paints, brushes, and paper. (We basically just used Winsor & Newton and Arches as recommended in the class.)

I really wish I had this information back then (along with your videos and tutorials on sketching). I did quite well as it was but this would have saved me the frustrations I encountered along the way and improved my work.

Since then life took me in other directions, but I really need to get back to drawing and watercolors.

Thank you for the inspiration!

With all due respect, Steve,

With all due respect, Steve, it was unseemly of you to have presumed to speak for all "serious" artists with these assertions of your own opinion.

A. Gallo offers 6, 12, and 24 sets, as well as single pans. It'd have taken you 30 seconds to find this out, but you instead wasted 30 seconds typing up your condescending comment.

First, I asked whether there

First, I asked whether there are any vaguely serious artists that would prefer 48 half pans to 24 full pans. I didn’t, say there were none and I didn’t claim to speak on behalf of all serious artists.

Second, I'm commenting on this set of paints, not any other set in the range.

I'm entitled to my opinions on this product. I also have opinions on you that I'm not going to share here.

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