Review: Winsor & Newton Watercolour Bijou Box

Winsor & Newton Bijou Watercolour Box with 8 half pan

The Winsor & Newton Watercolour Bijou Box is a really compact little box, smaller than the Sketchers' Pocket Box, and even my wallet (which is small).

The box is made enamelled metal. There are two colour mixing wells on the lid. The bijou box used to have four mixing wells but Winsor & Newton discontinued that model, so even though you might see product images with four wells, they probably come with two.

By the way, other manufacturers may also use the same box design. For example, Schmincke uses this design too. Sometimes the Bijou box is also being referred to as a Whiskey Painters box.

The mixing wells are coated some some protective layer. When mixing, the watercolours tend to collect together which is good, as compared to mixing on a plastic surface which tends to scatter the water.

The WN Bijou box I bought came with Artist-grade watercolour so they are intense, high quality. The colours are less chalky than the Cotman (student grade) series.

Only eight colours are included in the box and they are:

  • Winsor Lemon
  • Scarlet Lake
  • Permanent Rose
  • French Ultramarine
  • Winsor Green (Blue Shade)
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Ivory Black

Inside the box is also a collapsible brush that is too small. You can take that out and put in four more half pans.

Note that WN pans are smaller than those empty pans you can buy on your own. You can actually arrange the pans in such a way that the box can fit up to 14 pans. For the top and bottom row, just lay out the pans vertically instead of horizontally to fit 5. However, you won't be able to put in the metal spacer after that (don't lose that!).

The downside of the box is the limited mixing area because there are only two wells. If you need to mix a lot of colours, you'll need to clean off the well to make space. Another disadvantage is since the mixing area is limited, it does not allow you to mix a large amount so this means it's best to paint on smaller pieces of paper.

Video review

Here's a video review that shows the boxes more clearly.


I bought the set at around US$65 equivalent, with shipping. This is rather pricey.

On last check, the empty Bijou by itself is $38. Throw in 12 empty half pans and that's another $6.

My suggestion is to get the empty box, pans, and your own colours. It's more economical.

For example, on last check, the empty Bijou is $38. 12 half pans is $6. That's a total of $44.

You can either add a Daniel Smith 6-tube introductory set at $27, or a Mission Gold 9-tube set at $29. That would be a total of either $71 or $73 but you get more paint (especially with Mission Gold).


All links below are to Amazon. Be sure to compare the prices first. Amazon USA has them at lower prices compared to other Amazon branches.

Empty Bijou box:
US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP

Empty with integrated bottle:
US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP

Schmincke Bijou box with an integrated bottle:
US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP

Search Jackson's Art Supplies (UK) also.



Its nice to see traditional

Its nice to see traditional tools. As much as I love technology and use it on a daily basis, I grew up using pencil on paper, watercolor, acrylics and oils. Using traditional media helps to combat laziness because there is no "Control Z and Command Z".

What can you say about the

What can you say about the Lightweight Enamelled Box 12 Half Pans of Winsor and Newton?

Are they good as well or do the pans fall out too just like the sketcher's box set?

Btw, I saw an art store selling an empty box of the lightweight set and you can fill-in with 12 colors. But I am not sure of the quality of this box. Perhaps the Bijou box is slightly more heavy weight?

The YouTube W&N product video

The YouTube W&N product video for the bijou box makes it look like there aren't dividing walls between the half pans; it appears possible to use full pans instead of (or in combination with) half pans. Is this true? Have you tried it? Thanks.



I was wondering, what are those little black circle things in the bottom row of your palette? I've seen them in a few of your palettes and I can't figure out what they are!

I'm new to watercolor, so sorry if it's a stupid question! Thank you!


Excellent review, I expanded

Excellent review, I expanded my mixing area using a hot glue gun... I divided the areas in half with a line of hot glue (this is removable and can be configured as you like). I then tried dividing one side into fourths and may leave it that way giving much smaller but usable mixing on that side.

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