Lake Pigments

I have made, and use, madder and other lake pigments for many years. These beautiful pigments are transparent in oil varnish, and vary in colour from deep red to light golden brown. They are excellent for new making, and for restoration of classical and other instruments.

These pigments are hand made in my workshop, made only in small batches, and are the very best quality. The process of making the lakes takes about three weeks start to finish.

Madder in oil varnish can have a luminescence that is difficult to reproduce any other way.

All pigments are, for now, sold in 10 gram quantities, in a sturdy glass jar. I can supply double quantities if required.



Madder makes red lakes. The final colours can be orange to deep red depending on the lake, the amount used, and the varnish it is used in.  These lakes come in Deep Red, Strong Red, and Light Red.

Madder Lakes

madder pigment from root to powder


Alder Buckthorn

Alder Buckthorn makes red pigment, which has a different quality to madder. In lesser amounts and initially it will be a very attractive golden brown. In strong concentration, it can be deep red. These lakes come in Strong concentration, Medium concentration, and Light concetration.

Alder Buckthorn


Persian Berries

Persian berries are the berries of Alder Buckthorn. They make a yellow transparent lake.  Persian Berry lake is currently available in Standard concentration. I can make Strong concentration by request. 

Persian Berries


All three lakes, Madder, Alder Buckthorn, and Persian Berry can be mixed together, and in combination with each other, and different oil varnishes, can make most colours seen on Old Italian, and other,  Violins, Violas and Cellos.

The Lakes are hand ground in a pestle and mortar, and will need further grinding with a muller to attain the fineness needed for individual use.