What Can I Substitute for Rose Doré that Isn't Quite so Expensive?

Rose Dore paint color swatch
Left: Rose Dore. Right: Permanent Rose, unmixed and mixed with whites.

© Photo courtesy of Winsor & Newton

"I love Rose Doré, but can't justify spending so much on another tube of it. What could I use as a substitute that isn't quite so expensive?" -- Indigocatalyst8


Rose doré is a specialist color derived from madder root. It's so expensive (a Series 5 Winsor & Newton oil color) because it's a lake pigment created through a slow process still done in the traditional way. I asked Paul Robinson from the W&N Technical Team for his expert opinion for the best substitute. He said:

"Matching Rose Doré is impossible, you can get close but never match. Rose Doré, as with Genuine Rose Madder, is pigmented with lake of natural madder. We still make it today because it is a truly unique color, and extremely popular. It is impossible to match by mixing any red or white. It is the waxy transparency and depth of Rose Doré that that is hard to achieve.
"The color swatches in the photo (larger photo) show a few options. There is Permanent Rose with Titanium White, Permanent Rose alone, Permanent Rose with Zinc White (less opaque) and Permanent Rose with Zinc White and a touch of Winsor Yellow (to give it that more reddish tint). The results are close, but not exact."

I think a cost-cutting solution could be to use a substitute if you would be mixing Rose doré with other colors or glazing over it. Save it for where you are going to use it as a single color, where the color will show to its maximum beauty.