The Ruscombe Mill was founded in 1989 in Ruscombe, England and after early papermaking trials went into production in 1992; three years later it relocated to its current site, a renovated wine manufacturing building in Margaux, France. The mill was founded by Christopher Bingham, an engineer with manufacturing experience in papermaking, and his wife, Jane; sales and business operations are handled by Martin Rustige, proprietor of the widely respected paper merchant house of Anton Glaser in Stuttgart, Germany. Ruscombe Mill combines traditional, flexible, small scale manufacturing methods with the highest quality raw materials. They offer a wide variety of paper to suit the needs of both amateur and professional artists, editors, bookbinders and conservators. The company has its own web site where orders can be placed directly with the mill; the company also produces special makings.
Only the highest grade virgin cellulose fibres are used, namely cotton, flax pulp, raw flax, refined and raw hemp. We can ensure
therefore that no optical brightening agents are present.
Our water is drawn from an underground pure source and is pH neutral at about 7.2. Tests have confirmed residual dissolved
copper content at about 6.2ppm and iron at 14.5ppm.
Pre-dyed fibres and natural earth pigments are light fast to at least level 5 on the wool scale.
All papers are protected from pollution and acidic degradation by buffering with precipitated calcium carbonate and the papers
are internally, neutral sized with Aquapel.
We use pH corrected gelatine and neutral hardener for those water colour papers which are surface gelatine sized.
Our Quality Control processes include a number of standard laboratory tests to verify the strength and permeability.
Comprehensive ageing tests have been carried out both by the University of Manchester's Institute of Science and Technology
and the French National Library. The results have been extremely satisfactory in each case and details can be supplied on request.
RUSCOMBE PAPER MILL has endeavoured to manufacture a
range of art papers to meet most painting, drawing and printing
needs. In particular the mill has carefully researched the
characterisics of the originals to reproduce, as faithfully as
possible, a range of papers close to those used by certain
well-known English watercolour painters of the late 18th
century, amongst them:
J.M.W. Turner (Azur de Turner)
Thomas Girtin (Médoc Vergé)
David Cox (Médoc Vélin)
John Sell Cotman (Blanc Ancien).
The Alcantara Aetna Aquarello papers match the softly hued, off-white wove paper used by . Sheets are mouldmade, 100% cotton, acid free and calcium buffered, internally sized with starch and tub sized with Aquapel, with two natural deckle edges, and the watermark "ZERKALL" within a rectangle. Sheets are two sided: the wire side has a delicate laid texture. The rattle is loud and snappy; the papers burn to a very light gray, fragile ash. Available in CP finish, full sheet (30"x22"), in weights of 200 or 290 GSM, and in 240 GSM weight in a CP finish in either the (15"x11") or (20"x15") formats. Price of a single 500 GSM 22" x 30" sheet is about US$22.40.
The finish deliciously combines a slight linear pattern from the mould with an even, gentle tooth from the blanket, visible as a regular texture of shallow dimples. Deckles are large, wispy and very irregular. The color is a bright and slightly cool white. The sizing is very nice; the sheet took a very even wash, without exhausting the brush; the cobalt banding was very faint but collected across the shallow dimples, creating a unique and lovely freckled effect. The magenta went on smoothly with no trace of blossoming; the ultramarine gave a soft, subdued flocculation. Resists came off cleanly and easily. Scrubbing caused quite a lot of sluffing and unsightly streak marks, but this was probably because the paper was pushed more than necessary: the green lifted cleanly and completely with little effort, and left no damage or discoloration apparent under the repainted area.
Please see the page how to test watercolor papers for an explanation of my paper evaluation methods.
Last revised 02.20.2004 © 2004 Bruce MacEvoy
VAN GELDER FLAMBOYANT