Legend has it that in the early 1500s, a violent storm in the Borrowdale area of Cumberland led to trees being uprooted and the discovery of a strange black material underneath. This material turned out to be graphite, and shepherds began using it to mark their sheep.
A cottage industry of pencil making soon developed, culminating in the formation of the UK’s first pencil factory in 1832.
The factory has had various owners in its 175 year history, but became the Cumberland Pencil Company in 1916. The Lakeland children’s range was launched in 1930, followed by the Derwent brand of fine art pencils in 1938. Since then, a huge variety of artists’ materials has been developed, from traditional to highly innovative. The product range may have expanded beyond recognition but our commitment to excellence remains the same
Producing the finest pencils in the world has been a passion for the Cumberland Pencil Company since it was formed in 1832. And that passion and commitment to excellence is demonstrated to perfection in the Derwent brand of fine art drawing media.
Although justifiably proud of its heritage, Derwent also has a reputation for innovation. From the classic ranges of Artists, Graphic and Watercolour to exciting introductions such as Graphitint, Aquatone and Tinted Charcoal, Derwent has been inspiring artists worldwide for many years and continues to do so.