View Full Version : Henri Roche pastel set

07-31-2013, 09:18 AM
I just had to share...I am the proud owner of a 50, yes I said 50!!! set of Henri Roche landscape box set as of this past Saturday!
A fellow artist announced she was selling and I was extremely lucky enough to be the first to respond! And the most amazing...about 1/3 of the price today retail.
Yay me!!!
This box came directly from the shop in Paris, purchased in the 70's . They have barely been used and are absolutely beautiful. I have not had time to play with them yet, other than to check out texture and feel, but I can tell you this. IF... you don't find yourself able to get your hands on some of these, DON'T despair. As I can tell you that as far as texture and feel, you would have a good substitute in the Diane Townsend soft landscape sets, which I purchased recently. Very very close in similarity. I am still ecstatic to have gotten these; especially after being told there was a huge waitlist after me.


07-31-2013, 10:06 AM
Lucky you! They are special, different. Behave differently. I saw somewhere that the DT were made so you could fixate and then the pumice in it would give new tooth for top layers. It is the same with the R, and then one can leave top layers unfixed.

I only have a measly 40 or so Rochés... :-) The richness of pigment is a luxury!

07-31-2013, 01:44 PM
You are very lucky. Enjoy!!!

water girl
07-31-2013, 03:59 PM
:envy: Look at those colors!!!

07-31-2013, 04:48 PM
Great find, gorgeous set! Enjoy!

07-31-2013, 07:43 PM
Be still my heart. What a find. I am fortunate to have about 40 of them and love to use them at certain times in certain works. They are different but have a place in your arsenal.

07-31-2013, 08:06 PM
WOW, 1/3 price? That could be a once-in-a-lifetime bargain! Congratulations, and use them in good health :)

08-01-2013, 01:55 AM
Congrats to you! I agree though…I purchased a small Roche half-stick set last year because I really wanted to try them. They are almost identical in texture and feel to Diane Townsends.

Personally, I feel the Roches are overpriced and that Townsends are of equal quality with a much better price! :)

08-01-2013, 06:03 AM
Purring at you happily! I have a few pieces of Roche pastels, about nine of them, and love them. It's on my wish list for once I'm a grownup to get a half stick rainbow set, their starter is all the spectrum brights I love and a couple of other useful hues.

What's crazy is once I'm an official Senior, I can go back to bootstrapping my extravagant pastel purchases by selling the occasional painting.

This is why window shopping doesn't depress me. I'm too used to waiting and having a wish list with big items on it, drooling at pastels sets for sometimes a year or two before actually buying them. That little rainbow half sticks set isn't as grand as your vintage bargain but it'll do me fine, especially supplemented with the bits and pieces I already have.

The colors are incredible. The photo's lovely but from my bits and pieces, they don't do justice to the intensity of the intense hues and even the muted hues seem richer. I've got this sweet pinkish-grayish muted warm color leaning toward lavender that'd be "face shadows on someone pale" or traces of it in clouds or rocks or even tree bark, and it's this strange beautiful rich color I've got in no other pastels. I think you might have it in your box down by the violets, or something of a near neighbor.

Tressa, I am so happy you got this bargain. You've been so helpful to everyone and you're so brilliant a painter that I am thrilled to see these in your hands. I can't wait to see what you paint with them. Finish this thread with your first painting with the new darlings?

I've got a couple of sample Townsends and there is a difference, it's subtle but it's there. They're in the same category but I don't think the Roche are overpriced. Not for the hand labor and pigment load.

One of the fun things about seeing threads like this is it also stirs me up thinking of what I do have - not just the Roche but all of my beloved pastels. Since my collection went over a thousand my addiction's reached a slower, mellower level where I'm rejoicing at every addition but also in love again with everything else I've got.

Just seeing the colors makes me want to get out my dusties... that is a very cool vintage wood box too! Gorgeous!

08-01-2013, 08:18 AM
Thanks all! I am going to play with them for the next couple of days, as I am now finished with my end month crazy paperwork days for work.
Robert, I had them on my wish list also, thinking one day, maybe. I even went to the shop when I was in Paris a few years ago, but did not buy, hating myself afterwards. :lol:
I thought this was awesome, as our society president sent out an email newsletter about our meeting the weekend prior, and I as was unable to attend I wanted to catch up, and she had the contact person and her wish to sell two sets, one landscape and one portrait. I shot off an email immediately, and lucky me, I was first.
I was simply amazed at her asking price, which was what she paid in the early 70s. $300!!! I think there really IS a "wish fairy". :angel:
She said her waiting list for both sets came from people all over the states, including Cali.
The box is lovely, and in great shape, the only thing missing, the little clasp on the front, but no worries. And you are right, the photo does not do the richness justice, and yes, there is a subtle difference in these and DT, but for those who cannot spend that kind of money, or find a bargain like this (and I don't think it happens often) the DT softs are very comparable.
I have a "half-baked" small painting from my recent trip to Ireland, unfinished due to rain there and time here, I think I will finish it up with these in the next few days. :)

08-01-2013, 08:18 PM
Hi all
your pastels look wonderful! When you are talking about Townsends as comparible, which ones, or are they all the same but just a size difference?

08-01-2013, 10:03 PM
Hello, Donna.
I am referring to Diane Townsend "SOFT", not the terrages. The soft pastels have a fine smooth "grit" for lack of a better word, whilst the terrages have a heavier grit, and are a little more "crumbly" and fragile. I found them to be lovely on some papers, but I would not say they are my favorites. Now the "soft" landscape sets I recently purchased, are divine.

08-01-2013, 11:03 PM
Yes. The Diane Townsend Soft Form and Terrages have different textures. I like the Terrages too, they're a lot of fun on plain paper. I would not waste Roche on heavily sanded paper unless I was using them as finishing pastels, where their intensity could make a big difference.

Unless I was crazy rich of course.

Because they have that grit, I'm considering experiments on softer papers like the Stonehenge that works so well with colored pencils. Layering by fixative and using the grit in the pastels to tear up the surface is a cool technique and Stonehenge is 100% rag top quality paper - with a very fine grain that's good for detail. Not that I'd be going for detail in a pastel painting, but it wouldn't give me competing textures versus the ones created by my strokes.

Someone needs to do a plain brown paper that's 100% rag and rough in texture but with a fine grain, something like the Bogus Rough Sketch paper but top quality and archival. That "brown paper bag" color and texture but in something durable and fine.

08-04-2013, 04:46 AM
Wow what a great and rare deal! Hope you make many paintings with them! I treated myself to one stick of Roche when I went to Paris this spring. It was a whopping 15 or so Euros which makes it about $20 I think! Not sure if its totally worth it, but I am glad I got it.

08-07-2013, 08:49 PM
Hello, Donna.
I am referring to Diane Townsend "SOFT", not the terrages. The soft pastels have a fine smooth "grit" for lack of a better word, whilst the terrages have a heavier grit, and are a little more "crumbly" and fragile. I found them to be lovely on some papers, but I would not say they are my favorites. Now the "soft" landscape sets I recently purchased, are divine.

Thanks for the explanation, Tressa, I was wondering about them. I may be confusing them, as I think maybe Terrages is the same as slimline (which IMO, arent slim at all)? But before venturing to buy any of them-which is an expensive international order for me-I wanted to be sure. Terrages-I only have one pastel from a Dakota sample box-I kinda like it, but it falls straight off velour. thanks again

09-09-2013, 05:30 PM
That's a fabulous find!
I wonder if you should be concerned with the greens. God knows what they used for the pigments in the 70s

09-09-2013, 07:32 PM
That's a fabulous find!
I wonder if you should be concerned with the greens. God knows what they used for the pigments in the 70s

Actually i fear more other hues. and least some brands uses same stuff what they now use cobalt greens,phtnalo green,viridian... ps. and reds and yellows still have some brands cadmiums... and some brands use azo pigments such colors which fade i bet soon in light hues... maybe worst area is violet, Sennelier uses still poor lightfastness stuff this area (and otherway problematic also) and this often worst area i think. ps. when pastel is 20dollars or 15euros or something like i think should last very long and all what we need is max 12 hues when asked form me... and very likely 12 colours dont work expect brands what are super blendable and we have only one kind things what user do.