Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylic UV Varnish

Photo of Varnish Brush and Painting Varnish
Photo ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

The Bottom Line

If you're prepared to spend money on quality paint, then do your artwork a favor and protect it with an artist's quality varnish. Winsor and Newton's acrylic varnish goes on smoothly and is available as either a gloss, matt or satin finish.


  • Artist's quality, clear varnish, available as either gloss, matt or satin finish.
  • Easy to apply; can be thinned with water if needed; brushes clean with water.
  • Can be removed with acrylic varnish remover.


  • Check the label: don't accidentally pick up a jar of gloss varnish if you want matt.
  • Remember to clean your varnishing brush with water immediately, before the varnish dries on it.


  • Artist's quality varnish produced by Winsor and Newton in the UK. Available as either gloss, matt, or satin finish.
  • Protects against ultraviolet light, helps the lightfastness of paint colors.
  • W&N recommend letting a painting dry for at least 24 hours before varnishing, or up to a week for thick layers of paint.
  • W&N recommend two thin coats of varnish applied 24 hours apart. Apply the coats at 90 degrees to even out brushstrokes.
  • Can be removed with varnish remover.
  • Varnish can be thinned with water if necessary, though I found it spread readily straight from the jar.

Guide Review - Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylic UV Varnish

Along with its relaunched artists' acrylic paints in 2009, Winsor and Newton revamped all their acrylic mediums and varnishes.

Varnishing a painting protects your creative efforts from dust and atmospheric pollutants. If it's a UV varnish, as Winsor & Newton's are, the varnish also helps the lightfastness of the colors. A varnish can also be used to create a uniform finish to a painting, whether gloss or matt, or somewhere in between (known as a satin finish).

I found the varnish easy to apply, spreading smoothly and readily. It washed out my varnishing brush easily and had a minimal odour. The 225ml jar has a paperfoil seal at the top, so when you first open it the varnish won't spill. But the jar's quite full, so be sure to hold it level when you do take the lid off!


Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.