RGH Atelier Series oil

I bought a small 4 oz-bottle of RGH’s Atelier Series of refined linseed to oil to test.

According to RGH’s website, the Atelier Series is “…clarified, hand-washed, cold pressed linseed and walnut oils. No heat, chemicals, or bleaches have been used. We have used historical methods for washing these oils. … The end result are oils that are cleaner, clearer, and almost colorless...”

There is a lot of evidence, going back to the very beginning of record-keeping in this area, that artists took great pains to obtain the cleanest oil possible. Some artists were obsessive about it. There are numerous descriptions of the processes used. Repeated washes in sand and/or saltwater are described. Perhaps this is the RGH process.

Normally, highly refined oil was the basis for a medium, which is how I’ve used it.

RGH’s refined linseed oil is certainly light in appearance. It’s close to safflower oil in this respect. Lighter oils yellow less with age. That’s the usual claim and my experience tends to confirm it, although I believe that oils darkened by the addition of driers yellow significantly less than unrefined oils. Even so, lighter is better and this oil is nice and clear.

How does it handle? I’ve only used it as an addition to my usual medium, and then only to keep the surface open longer than my sometimes too-drying medium permits. It’s wetting and limpid. Those are highly desirable qualities. It also seems more drying than unrefined cold-pressed oil, which is another desirable trait.

In other words: it’s good stuff.

Its downside is price. A pint is $55!

Anyway, I plan to buy more.

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