Derwent Pencil Company


Legend has it that in the early 1500’s, a violent storm in the Borrowdale area of Cumberland led to trees being uprooted. Beneath these trees was a strange black material that left its mark on whatever it touched. This material turned out to be graphite, a core component of the modern-day pencil. Shepherds began using it to mark their sheep, and the roots of the pencil industry were formed.

Derwent Pencil Company

Years later, in 1832, the United Kingdom’s first pencil factory was founded. In 1916, the factory was purchased by the Cumberland Pencil Company and in 1938, the Derwent brand of fine art pencils were introduced to artists around the world.

Though their products, logos and scope may have changed and evolved over the years, one thing has stayed constant: a dedication to producing some of the finest pencils in the world.

Why Derwent?


Quality has become a defining characteristic for Derwent products. From the purchasing of the raw materials used to make their products to the manufacturing and distribution of the finished pencils, only items with the highest level of quality will pass the test. In fact, the company attributes much of its success to the consistent quality of their products over the last century.


Derwent follows rigorous environmental safety standards to ensure that the raw materials they purchase and the products they produce leave a small footprint on Mother Nature. Situated in the scenic Lake District National Park, Derwent was even awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for developing a unique, solvent free paint application system in 2002.

Derwent Pencil Company


Derwent has developed countless innovative products that have pushed the pencil industry in new and exciting directions. Below are a few of their contributions:

Inktense: Pigment blocks specially formulated to produce ink-like effects.

Graphitint: Graphite pencils that blend like color pencils? Color pencils that color like graphite pencils? You decide.

Tinted charcoal: Charcoal blocks infused with color to give life to your charcoal sketches.


Derwent is committed to its local region and strives to employ as many people as they can in the local U.K. area.

Derwent Pencil Company

How Derwent Pencils Are Made

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