Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Sketching on Rembrandt’s Paper


As you know, Clairefontaine is responsible for Rhodia’s beautiful paper, but did you know it’s also a world-renowned manufacturer in its own right, with three production sites in France and one in The Netherlands? I was surprised to find out that the latter, the Schut mill, is over 400 years old!

Originally called “De Veentjees,” Schut Papier is located in the village of Heelsum and has been manufacturing fine art paper since 1618. No big deal. As one of the first mills to do this in Holland, it played an important role in the Dutch Golden Age, a fruitful artistic period that produced artists such as Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer. Who doesn’t know The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp or Girl with a Pearl Earring? An avid draughtsman and portraitist, Rembrandt surely used the Schut mill as his paper supplier.


Self-portrait by Rembrandt. National Gallery of Art Collection. In the Public Domain.

Clairefontaine, which had been making paper since 1858, acquired the Schut mill in 1998 as a subsidiary of Exacompta Clairefontaine. Fast-forward to 2019, and Schut is using centuries of knowledge to bring you the finest artists’ paper in the world for drawing, watercolors, oil, acrylics, and more. Like all of Clairefontaine’s mills, they source their raw materials from sustainably harvested forests, use chlorine-free bleached pulp, and are actively reducing their energy and water consumption—proof of their commitment to the environment and trailblazing legacy.

Next time someone sees you painting on one of Clairefontaine’s watercolor pads or sketching on a Paint’ON journal, feel free to tell them you’re working with paper fit for a Dutch master.


Schut mill in Heelsum, The Netherlands.

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