The brand


1492, a historic year, memorable for two special events: the discovery of America by Christopher Colombus and the founding of the ARCHES® paper mill, which has endured through the centuries, to the pleasure and satisfaction of numerous renowned artists, art publishers and printers who have remained attached to its outstanding qualities.


Beginning of production at the paper mill at Arches, a village situated near Epinal in the Vosges. Very quickly, ARCHES® paper became the preferred medium of artists and men of letters.


The paper mill at Arches provided the paper for the famous Nüremberg Chronicle, an incunable illustrated by Dürer and published in 1493, in the earliest days of printing.

1500 to 1600

This watermark with the “double C and the emperor’s crown” is typical of the sixteenth century. Accompanied by an unidentified countermark, it dates from the period when the Arches paper mill’s activities are known.


The “quatre-de-chiffre” device surmounted by the initials of Simon de Moyeulle: Master papermaker and owner of the Arches paper mill.
This watermark would be abandoned around 1730.


Beaumarchais acquired the Arches Mill and founded the “Société des Auteurs Compositeurs Dramatiques” (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers). He devoted seven years to publishing the complete works of Voltaire, mainly on ARCHES® paper. 28,000 copies of this famous edition were printed in Kehl in Germany, requiring 70 tonnes of paper.
Beaumarchais made numerous technical improvements to the Arches Mill and contributed to spreading its commercial reach into neighbouring countries, with papers made especially for wallpapers, for letter writing…

1807 to 1826

The Imprimerie Impériale, commissioned by Napoleon I to print the “Description de l’Egypte”, ordered 2 million sheets of paper from the Arches mill for the letterpress printing and intaglio engravings for this publication. These sheets of exceptional quality are all the more remarkable because their sizes do not exist anywhere else. Created specially, they were named “Eléphant“, “Grand Monde” and “Grande Egypte“, and the sheets bore a special watermark with the words “Egypte ancienne et moderne“.


From 1826 onwards sizing with rosin became the norm, as this method was cheaper and easier than traditional sizing with gelatin. ARCHES® did not give in to the temptation, however, and retained its method of papermaking. Internal sizing of ARCHES®‘s watercolour paper ever since then has enabled it to maintain the same unequalled qualities to this day: very low deformation, resistance to scratching, outstanding colour rendering and transparency as well as excellent conservation over time. From this period on, ARCHES® became the reference paper for the majority of artists and acquired a worldwide reputation.


ARCHES® was now selling a part of its products in Munich and Stuttgart in Germany and was supplying paper for the Imagerie d’Épinal, the famous picture printing works owned by the Pellerin family.

1855 to 1859

During the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1855, ARCHES® won first class medals for its products, deemed superior in all respects, including pulp purity and beauty, uniformity, good sizing and finish. In 1859, Morel “saved” the Arches paper mill, the last large vat paper mill in the Vosges, when he won an enormous 9-year contract with the stamp issuing authority.

Fabrication du papier à la cuve IXXe siècle

1860 to 1865

Morel went into partnership with his nephew Bercioux and began to rebuild his factory on the site it still occupies.
He spared no effort and by 1865 he had 27 vats compared to just 5 in 1859.


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a painter who was extremely sensitive to materials and curious to try out many different drawing and watercolour techniques on paper, inspired ARCHES®. As early as 1869 the paper mill began to produce a prestigious high-quality paper better suited to the expectations of artists of the time, a laid paper it named Ingres d’ARCHES MBM® (MBM being initials of the mill’s owners: Morel, Bercioux and Masure). Ingres’s name continues to be linked to the making of this paper to this day.


Jules Perrigot developed his own vat-paper machine and ARCHES® began industrial paper production. The cylinder mould gradually replaced manual papermaking and steam was used to accelerate drying.

ARCHES® specialised in making paper for banknotes, safety papers and commercial handmade papers (papers for luxury publishing, intaglio engraving, writing papers and correspondence cards, papers for line drawing and wash techniques, special papers such as the paper for geographical maps). 90% of luxury limited edition publications were produced with ARCHES® paper.

Grand Prizes for Arches® "Velin" line, wash and watercolour drawing papers.

1897 and 1900

In 1897 in Brussels and in 1900 in Paris, the Arches paper mill received 2 Grand Prizes for its “Velin” line, wash and watercolour drawing papers.


Four competing paper mills, ARches, JOhannot, MArais and RIves, merged. The first French papermaking group, ARJOMARI, was born.


ARCHES® perfected the extra-long conservation of its papers. This led to 250 works printed on Velin d’ARCHES® with intaglio engravings being sent into space on board the American shuttle Discovery, a bequest to eternity.


ARJOMARI merged with Anglo-American papermaker WTA to become ARJO WIGGINS.


The French Ministry of Culture chose ARCHES® for its first order of national prints.

2011 to 2017

2011: International paper group MUNKSJÖ became the new owner of ARCHES®.

2013: Creation of Munksjö Oyj following the merger of Munksjö AB (Sweden) and the “Label and Processing” division of Ahlstrom Corporation (Finland).

June 2013: Munksjö Oyj’s shares began trading on the NASDAQ OMX in Helsinki.

December 2014: Munksjö Oyj’s shares began trading on the Stockholm NASDAQ.


2017: Creation of Ahlstrom-Munksjö Oyj following the merger of Munksjö Oyj and Ahlstrom Corporation.