The Quarterly No. 46 - May 2003


William McMurray or Don Guillermo: Wireworker, Papermaker, Espartero, part one: Wireworking in Scotland and Papermaking in England- Alan Crocker and Javier Castillo Fernández

An account of the business activities of William McMurray (1806-87). He was a wireworker in Scotland, his company becoming successful in supplying paper mills all over the world with machine wires. He also became a papermaker, a stationer and a newspaper proprietor. In 1847 he moved to south-east England where he owned four paper mills. Much of the paper was made from esparto, grown in south-east Spain where he held licences to gather esparto, he processed the grass in Spain and exported it to Britain in his own ships.

7  pages, illustrated


Trip to Xiangzhigou (Burning Paper Valley), Guizhou Province, China - NGD Robertson

Account of a visit to this unique hand papermaking industry in China. The author recounts the lengthy journey needed to reach the villages where the paper was made and the processes involved in converting the bamboo into saleable paper. The paper has two main uses: absorbent tissue and as paper money for burning when visiting dead ancestors and relatives. With the penetration of western papermaking businesses into China the industries future is uncertain.

4 pages, illustrated


William Balston's in-laws: The Valance Family - Ian Dye

William Balston was married to Catherine Vallance in 1806, she was the daughter of stationer Thomas Vallance who, in 1807, became Master of the Stationers Company. This article traces the the papermaking and stationery company activities of Catherine Vallance's family - her father and three brothers - between 1760 and 1857 at several papermills in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, in the family stationery business in London, at the pinnacle of the trade as Master Stationer, and later in the depths of despair in the bankruptcy court.

7  pages, tables


William Cobbett and his Cornstalk Paper - Armin Renker (with introduction and notes by Alan Crocker)

This article on William Cobbett was first published in Amor Librorum, Erasmus Antiquariat, 1958, and was reprinted in The Paper Maker, volume 28, 1959, number 1, pages 23-30. However, the title may be misleading as Cobbett stated that his paper was made from the husks of his corn and not the stalks, the article is reproduced with no alterations except that some end-notes have been provided.

5 pages, illustrated


Book Reviews

Eynsford Paper Mill. By WG Duncombe.
Works of Art on Paper:books, documents and photographs; techniques and conservation. Edited by Vincent Daniels, Alan Donnithorne and Perry Smith.


Paper Mills at Hayfield, Derbyshire - Richard Hills

Notes providing additional information to those provided by Tanya Schmoller in The Quarterly, No 9, January 1994 on paper mills in this area.

2 pages


Papering a Kite

Andrew Honey has sent us this delightful extract from Master Michael Angelo, The Drawing School for Little Masters and Misses [...] to which are added The Whole Art of Kite Making. London: Printed for T Carnan, 2nd Edition, 1774. pp 60-62 [Michael Angelo is a pseudonym sometimes attributed to Richard Johnson]

"The papering of a kite is a matter which requires no great share of genius or attention; and, supposing your paper and paste are of the proper sort, you can hardly do wrong: However, a few directions, even in this part of the work, may not be amiss.

Take as many sheets of fine writing post-paper as you may think will be wanting for your purpose, and lay them between damp linen; for it is a great fault, though frequently committed by young artists, to use dry paper, as the kite will thereby always be full of wrinkles; whereas, when it is made with damp paper, it will always be perfectly smooth and tight. The best paste for your purpose is either that sold at shops for the use of shoe-makers, or such as is made in the following manner: Put a little water into a sauce-pan, and place it on the fire. While that is heating, beat up a large spoonful of flour in a little cold water in a bason, observing to break all the lumps of flour, and to make it quite smooth. When the water boils, pour this into it, keeping it constantly stirring; and, when you think it has boiled to a sufficient thickness, pour into a bason, and there let it stand to cool for use.

When your paper and paste are thus prepared, provide yourself with a table full as large as your kite. Spread your paper on the table, and paste so many sheets together, as will be sufficient to cover your kite. Then lay your kite on the table, and cut off your paper to the size of it, leaving an inch for turning in round the bender and lower strings. Cut notches at the end of your paper, that they may turn over the more readily, and hold the stronger. All this should be done as quick as possible, that the paper may not have time to dry before the operation is finished.

Having proceeded thus far, you must next place on the bandages, which are pieces of paper, each about an inch broad, and two inches long, which are designed to fasten the straighter and the braces of the bender. [...] Your kite being thus far finished, you must put in some shady place to dry, but by no means in the sun, or near afire, both which dry it too fast, and often make it warp."


The Cambridge Papers (part two)

Rembrandt's European Printing Papers at the Fitzwilliam Museum: A Study made in 1997 - Bryan Clarke

The vast majority of Rembrandt's etchings were printed on white laid paper originating from France, Switzerland and Germany and it is the study of these and their watermarks that provides most information about the different print editions and those ones made posthumously. The study of his printing papers can add significantly to knowledge of his working methods whilst enabling authentication of etchings made during his lifetime. This article gives a detailed account of some of the results of the study.

9 pages, illustrated, appendix


Flong - Barry Watson

Flong is used a moulding medium in the production of stereo-type printing plates. This short article details the terminology, history and techniques in the production and use of the material.

4 pages, illustrated


Devon Valley Industries, PM5 - Phil Crockett

A summary of a major expansion project to put a new paper machine in at Devon Valley Mill which entailed demolishing an older area of the mill. The site has been in use since 1765 with the first machine being installed in 1823. Since the end of the nineteenth century all the major mill extensions have had plaques built in to the walls stating the date that work was performed.
NB During this project a 'time capsule' was found, details in The Quarterly, No 43, July 2002.

15 pages, illustrated


The Taxation of Paper - Harry Dagnall

Article on the taxation of paper produced in Britain based on the author's book The Taxation of Paper in Great Britain 1643-1861. The subject of taxation on imported paper is not covered as it is too complicated to be covered in one short article. Taxation on paper began as a 5% purchase tax in 1643, going through several changes in the legislation and ended in 1861 with the abolishment of both Excise and Customs Duties on paper.

4 pages, illustrated, tables