Cranfield Heritage

Three generations of colourmen.

Colour has been in the family’s blood since the late 1920s, when George Craine Snr. (our present MD’s grandfather) started at Johnson & Cumbers. Working in London’s Sugarhouse Lane, a hub for the ink making industry and where the Olympic Village now stands, George Snr. learnt his craft in an age when the artist’s needs always came first.

Art remains close to our heart

As the needs of conventional printers changed and the traditional colour making skills, machinery and methods began to die out, George Craine (Junior), preferring the ‘old ways’ and knowing them to be more suited to artists’ products, set up the Cranfield Group in 1976, using traditional processes to create top quality dry pigment inks.

Cranfield was born. Artists found that there were fewer and fewer artisan colour-makers around. When they realised Cranfield had the knowledge and the machinery to create dry-colour inks they flocked to them. George responded by making sure he understood exactly what these artists needed – and the rest is history.

Heritage Art

Colour as it should be

Cranfield has never forgotten its artisan background. The machines and principles we use are the same as our current MD Michael’s grandfather used generations ago – not through simple nostalgia, but because they are the best tools for the job.

Today we combine our extensive know-how of both the artistic and commercial worlds, allowing artists to trust their materials and enjoy exceptional, long-lasting colours.

Adding paint to the mix

In 2009 we finally found a paint maker whose values matched our own – and Spectrum Paints joined the Cranfield family. The Spectrum brand had enjoyed an enviable position in the British art scene of the 1960s and 70s.

Spectracryl Tubes

With its love of hand-made products from traditional raw materials, and a commanding reputation with artists, Spectrum was the perfect addition. We acquired not just rare expertise, but traditional paint-making machinery.

These massive mills had to be craned out of a residential area in Wimbledon, London, clearing Victorian chimney pots with inches to spare. It was an enormous undertaking, but a decision that ensured the continued presence of a beloved brand here in the UK.