History and the production at Moulin de Larroque

Moulin de Larroque is located in a pictoresq building at a side arm of the Dordogne river, not far from the village Lalinde, once the centre of paper manufacture, during many centuries.
Built from light brown lime stone and three stories high. The top floor is used to dry the paper, hence the "Louvre-doors".
In 1972, Georges Duchêne bought the property, restored it and put it back into production. He gave this mill its international good reputation. After 40 years Moulin de Larroque is still making natural papers for artistic techniques , watercolour, engraving, embossing, pastel, calligraphy, and framing. Some wellknown artists like Coignard, Leonor Fini, Alechinsky, Corneille, César… used these fine art papers.

The paper production process

The « Dutch shredding machine » (Hollander), filled with water, is used to shred cotton waste between metal blades. Vegetal glue is added to make sizing.
The papermill uses a vat with deckles in several sizes, and a hydraulic press (the only modern machine) the press the water out of the paper.

The "Hollander". Usually cotton fibres are used and sometimes linen. In the Hollander natural glue (resin) is added to make the paper stronger and more resistant to water. The Hollander grinds all cloth until fine fibres will float in the water. This is called the "paper pulp"; the basis of the paper.

On the picture above you can see Pierre making paper. When the pulp is ready, it is transferred to the "vat". The vat is nothing else then a big container full of paper pulp and water. The paper maker takes the deckle and goes through the vat and leaves a layer of paper fibres on his deckle. The deckle has a zeeve in it, so most of the water will drain out. The paper maker stirrs the deckle to get an even distribution of the pulp.

In a fast movement the papermaker turns the deckle upside down and deposes the paper mass on a blanket. The paper mass is still very fragile, and contains still a lot of water. The blanket has two function: it absorbs some of the moisture and it gives structure to the paper surface. "rough" paper had "rough blanket" and "smooth paper" had a smooth blanket.

A pile of paper sheets is made, each of them separated by a blanket. When the pile is big enough, everything is moved to the hydraulic press, to press out the water.

After the press, all sheets of paper can dry in the air, slowly, in order to gain enough strenght. When it is dry , the paper can be "cold rolled" (satinage) (finishing). This makes the surface of the paper more smooth. The paper goes through two cold polished steel rollers.