Is there any difference between Van Dyke brown & Raw Umber ?  I'm reluctant to spend the money if only to find they aren't the same. 

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I can only speak for the brand of oil paint I use but yes, the two colours are made from different pigments.

Van Dyke is made from black, iron oxide red and yellow iron oxide. Raw umber is made from brown iron oxide.

I suppose the question is, will it really matter in your finished painting?

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