Printmaking Paper from Somerset


The manufacture of artists' papers here in the Axe Valley in Somerset originated at the neighbouring Wookey Hole Mill and the tradition continued when St. Cuthberts took that over. As demand for the mill's papers increased, production was actually transferred to the St. Cuthberts site where artists' mouldmade grades are now manufactured. A combination of traditional craftmanship, modern technology and computer control has allowed these artists' papers to become a first-class range.

St. Cuthberts is part of the large Inveresk Group, and the mouldmades have been selected for many prestigious projects. In 1990, Somerset was chosen for fund-raising lithographs based on watercolour paintings by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales: these lithographs were produced on a 300 gsm grade which carried not only the "Somerset" watermark but also the Prince of Wale's own crest. The mill owns a big mould machine, which allows to make paper of 152,4 cm wide (60"). Most papers are made of 100% cotton, like Somerset and Saunders Waterford, but paper of 100% cellulose is also made.
Somerset is a very popular grade of printmaking paper from the historic St. Cuthbert’s Mill in the UK, first introduced in the early 1970’s. In the early 1990’s, working together the mill, and based on demands of the printmaking community, an American wholesaler helped take what was once a limited range and expanded it to become the most complete offering of mouldmade printmaking papers every manufactured by one mill.
In addition to its popularity in printmaking, Someset found success as a wonderful drawing paper due to its soft handle and supple feel in all three surfaces.
It also became a deluxe paper for the stationery industry, working equally well with letterpress, engraving, thermography and embossing.
In the late 1990’s Somerset became the first fine art paper to gain popularity in the then-new world of digital printing. To meet this demand, more sizes (46.75x35) and weights (330gsm and 500gsm) were introduced. This also led to the development of an inkjet coated version which became Somerset Enhanced Velvet, an important paper in the history of fine art giclee printing.


Cylinder mould made


100% cotton


Acid free & archival. Calcium carbonate buffered. pH 7-9


Watermarks bearing the name Somerset appear twice (on most sheets)

Grain Direction:

Long Grain


Internally sized (machine sized) 4 deckle edges (two natural, two torn by hand, unless stated otherwise). Natural woollen felt textured

Shade (Radiant White):

96% TAPPI Whiteness value

Shade (White):

88% TAPPI Whiteness value

Shade (Soft White):

75%* TAPPI Whiteness value

No OBAs (Optical brightening agents) exc Radiant White shade. Highly lightfast (minimum 7 on Blue Wool Scale except Radiant White shade which exceeds 6)

The surface has a gentle texture, soft and good-tempered nature, and is a strong and stable enough sheet to ensure excellent printing. It remains flat after printing and offers durability and long life to finished editions of work. It is available in eight highly lightfast colours that reach a minimum of 7 on the Blue Wool Scale, including a stunning deep black sheet.

It is practically impossible to show the exact paper colour on a computer screen Therefore, it is recommendable to have a paper sample.