The Art of Marbling

BlueAndrea here, talking today about books. No surprise there—we do that a lot here at the Word Wenches! But my topic today isn’t about the words on the printed page, but rather the remarkable art of the decorative papers that were traditionally used to create beautiful cover and endpapers in book.
 
Alas, today it’s becoming a lost art, but I recently saw a marvelous exhibit at the Grolier Club (it’s a wonderful society dedicated to the arts of the book and book collecting) in New York City on the art of contemporary marbling, so I thought I would share some of the fabulous creations and give a short explanation of the history and process of marbled paper.


Samples

Islamic artLike many of book-related arts, marbling originated in China around 900 CE, and spread to the Islamic world during the 15th century. As the human figure is not used in Islamic art, calligraphy has been traditionally been an important artistic expression, and marbled paper was often used as a complement to the letterforms.
 
Yellow-eyesDuring the 17th century, travelers visiting the East (especially Constantinople) began to bring back marbled paper to Europe and Britain. It soon became popular for use on book cover, end papers—and also for lining bookshelves and drawers!
 
One fascinating story is that in 1690, the Bank of England experimented with using partially marbled paper for its bank notes . . . until they discovered that a forger had figured out how to duplicate the pattern! Still, they apparently used continued to use some form of marbled paper for certain types of cheques until 1810. Another fun story is that Benjamin Franklin acquired British marbled security paper for the Continental Congress, and it was used to print $20 banknotes for the American revolutionaries in 1775!
 
Paper_Marbling_TankNow on to the process, which as you can see by the shoes and brush can be cheerfully messy! (Marbling can definitely be a full-contact sport!)
 
ShoesIn a nutshell, pigment, usually oil-based—is floated atop a tray of water mixed with a “size,” which is some sort of ingredient that thickens the water and makes the pigment float on the surface. (A popular type of size in Britain and America is made from seaweed and is called “Irish moss.” Another common size is gum tragacanth, which is made from a species of Middle Eastern plant.) Then a marbling artist, can spatter pigment, use all sorts of implements—sticks, combs, brushes, fingers, or whatever!—to create a design. Then a sheet of paper is carefully placed atop the pigment and the colors are transferred to the paper, which is hung up to dry.
Red-fullwidth

SwirlsEach print is unique—that’s called a monotype in art the art world. The remaining pigment is then carefully scraped off the size and the process is repeated. An artist skilled in marbling can learn techniques for duplicating certain types of patterns.

Once one has mastered the basic techniques, the sky is the limit on creativity. One can spatter water or turpentine on the pigments to create “negative space; one can be inventive with the tools used to swirl the colors; one can use an artist’s brush to paint detailed images on the size—imagination is encouraged to take flight.

512px-Body_Marbled_Hand_-_1As, I’ve said, these days marbling has become a rare artform—even though it’s actually quite easy to set up and have some fun! However, there is a thriving community of people still practicing the art, and as you see from one of the pictures, it’s also become a cool thing to marble body parts! (Be sure the pigments are non-toxic!) I think it’s a beautiful touch to bookmaking and hope the craft of it is never lost.

What about you? Do you like marbled paper? Do you have old books with marbling? Would like to try your hand (um, quite literally!) at marbling paper? I was lucky enough to learn about it in art school, and we had a lot of fun actually doing it.

200 thoughts on “The Art of Marbling”

  1. I love those marbled end papers in books, and I do have some. They don’t seem to make beautiful books any more, except for extraordinarily expensive ones.
    A pair of my young grandnieces (10-12) were in Florence admiring the Florentine paper in a stationery store and the gentleman who made the papers invited them back into the workshop and let them make their own. Needless to say, that was the high point of the trip.

    Reply
  2. I love those marbled end papers in books, and I do have some. They don’t seem to make beautiful books any more, except for extraordinarily expensive ones.
    A pair of my young grandnieces (10-12) were in Florence admiring the Florentine paper in a stationery store and the gentleman who made the papers invited them back into the workshop and let them make their own. Needless to say, that was the high point of the trip.

    Reply
  3. I love those marbled end papers in books, and I do have some. They don’t seem to make beautiful books any more, except for extraordinarily expensive ones.
    A pair of my young grandnieces (10-12) were in Florence admiring the Florentine paper in a stationery store and the gentleman who made the papers invited them back into the workshop and let them make their own. Needless to say, that was the high point of the trip.

    Reply
  4. I love those marbled end papers in books, and I do have some. They don’t seem to make beautiful books any more, except for extraordinarily expensive ones.
    A pair of my young grandnieces (10-12) were in Florence admiring the Florentine paper in a stationery store and the gentleman who made the papers invited them back into the workshop and let them make their own. Needless to say, that was the high point of the trip.

    Reply
  5. I love those marbled end papers in books, and I do have some. They don’t seem to make beautiful books any more, except for extraordinarily expensive ones.
    A pair of my young grandnieces (10-12) were in Florence admiring the Florentine paper in a stationery store and the gentleman who made the papers invited them back into the workshop and let them make their own. Needless to say, that was the high point of the trip.

    Reply
  6. I love marbled paper. There is no end to the designs and they are so colorful.
    When I was in fifth grade, many, many decades ago, I had a fabulous teacher. One of the projects she had us do was to write a story, which we then put into book form. We cut and folded the pages, sewing them together, then covered some kind of hard board with cloth. I don’t remember what we used for the spine, but the best part was making the marbled endpapers.
    Once that was finished we copied our story into the book. Mine was extremely short and didn’t even fill up half the book. Unfortunately, the book got lost in moves.
    But, I remembered the marbling and many years later did it with my children. In both cases, we did not use any sizing and the marbling turned out lovely.

    Reply
  7. I love marbled paper. There is no end to the designs and they are so colorful.
    When I was in fifth grade, many, many decades ago, I had a fabulous teacher. One of the projects she had us do was to write a story, which we then put into book form. We cut and folded the pages, sewing them together, then covered some kind of hard board with cloth. I don’t remember what we used for the spine, but the best part was making the marbled endpapers.
    Once that was finished we copied our story into the book. Mine was extremely short and didn’t even fill up half the book. Unfortunately, the book got lost in moves.
    But, I remembered the marbling and many years later did it with my children. In both cases, we did not use any sizing and the marbling turned out lovely.

    Reply
  8. I love marbled paper. There is no end to the designs and they are so colorful.
    When I was in fifth grade, many, many decades ago, I had a fabulous teacher. One of the projects she had us do was to write a story, which we then put into book form. We cut and folded the pages, sewing them together, then covered some kind of hard board with cloth. I don’t remember what we used for the spine, but the best part was making the marbled endpapers.
    Once that was finished we copied our story into the book. Mine was extremely short and didn’t even fill up half the book. Unfortunately, the book got lost in moves.
    But, I remembered the marbling and many years later did it with my children. In both cases, we did not use any sizing and the marbling turned out lovely.

    Reply
  9. I love marbled paper. There is no end to the designs and they are so colorful.
    When I was in fifth grade, many, many decades ago, I had a fabulous teacher. One of the projects she had us do was to write a story, which we then put into book form. We cut and folded the pages, sewing them together, then covered some kind of hard board with cloth. I don’t remember what we used for the spine, but the best part was making the marbled endpapers.
    Once that was finished we copied our story into the book. Mine was extremely short and didn’t even fill up half the book. Unfortunately, the book got lost in moves.
    But, I remembered the marbling and many years later did it with my children. In both cases, we did not use any sizing and the marbling turned out lovely.

    Reply
  10. I love marbled paper. There is no end to the designs and they are so colorful.
    When I was in fifth grade, many, many decades ago, I had a fabulous teacher. One of the projects she had us do was to write a story, which we then put into book form. We cut and folded the pages, sewing them together, then covered some kind of hard board with cloth. I don’t remember what we used for the spine, but the best part was making the marbled endpapers.
    Once that was finished we copied our story into the book. Mine was extremely short and didn’t even fill up half the book. Unfortunately, the book got lost in moves.
    But, I remembered the marbling and many years later did it with my children. In both cases, we did not use any sizing and the marbling turned out lovely.

    Reply
  11. Lil. you are right—only expensive or handmade book seem to include marbled paper, which is such a shame. They really make a book feel special.
    What a wonderful story about your nieces. And what a nice man! Florence is a wonderful city for book arts. They still appreciate the little details!

    Reply
  12. Lil. you are right—only expensive or handmade book seem to include marbled paper, which is such a shame. They really make a book feel special.
    What a wonderful story about your nieces. And what a nice man! Florence is a wonderful city for book arts. They still appreciate the little details!

    Reply
  13. Lil. you are right—only expensive or handmade book seem to include marbled paper, which is such a shame. They really make a book feel special.
    What a wonderful story about your nieces. And what a nice man! Florence is a wonderful city for book arts. They still appreciate the little details!

    Reply
  14. Lil. you are right—only expensive or handmade book seem to include marbled paper, which is such a shame. They really make a book feel special.
    What a wonderful story about your nieces. And what a nice man! Florence is a wonderful city for book arts. They still appreciate the little details!

    Reply
  15. Lil. you are right—only expensive or handmade book seem to include marbled paper, which is such a shame. They really make a book feel special.
    What a wonderful story about your nieces. And what a nice man! Florence is a wonderful city for book arts. They still appreciate the little details!

    Reply
  16. Glad you enjoyed it, Mary Jo. Marbling is surprisingly easy, though it’s a bit of work to make the size. And of course there is a learning curve. But even the first tries are fun and “artsy.

    Reply
  17. Glad you enjoyed it, Mary Jo. Marbling is surprisingly easy, though it’s a bit of work to make the size. And of course there is a learning curve. But even the first tries are fun and “artsy.

    Reply
  18. Glad you enjoyed it, Mary Jo. Marbling is surprisingly easy, though it’s a bit of work to make the size. And of course there is a learning curve. But even the first tries are fun and “artsy.

    Reply
  19. Glad you enjoyed it, Mary Jo. Marbling is surprisingly easy, though it’s a bit of work to make the size. And of course there is a learning curve. But even the first tries are fun and “artsy.

    Reply
  20. Glad you enjoyed it, Mary Jo. Marbling is surprisingly easy, though it’s a bit of work to make the size. And of course there is a learning curve. But even the first tries are fun and “artsy.

    Reply
  21. What lovely stories, Alison. Marbling really is fun and easy. I wish more schools would do it. It’s on of those “object-based” learning experiences that could make lifelong fans of well-made books, and give an appreciation that art comes in many forms.

    Reply
  22. What lovely stories, Alison. Marbling really is fun and easy. I wish more schools would do it. It’s on of those “object-based” learning experiences that could make lifelong fans of well-made books, and give an appreciation that art comes in many forms.

    Reply
  23. What lovely stories, Alison. Marbling really is fun and easy. I wish more schools would do it. It’s on of those “object-based” learning experiences that could make lifelong fans of well-made books, and give an appreciation that art comes in many forms.

    Reply
  24. What lovely stories, Alison. Marbling really is fun and easy. I wish more schools would do it. It’s on of those “object-based” learning experiences that could make lifelong fans of well-made books, and give an appreciation that art comes in many forms.

    Reply
  25. What lovely stories, Alison. Marbling really is fun and easy. I wish more schools would do it. It’s on of those “object-based” learning experiences that could make lifelong fans of well-made books, and give an appreciation that art comes in many forms.

    Reply
  26. What a lovely and informative post, Andrea.
    When I had my PhD thesis bound, I visited a bookbinder on campus and was able to select the endpapers from an assortment of beautiful marbled papers. Now I wonder if the bookbinder made his own papers. I also wonder if that shop is still there some thirty plus years later.

    Reply
  27. What a lovely and informative post, Andrea.
    When I had my PhD thesis bound, I visited a bookbinder on campus and was able to select the endpapers from an assortment of beautiful marbled papers. Now I wonder if the bookbinder made his own papers. I also wonder if that shop is still there some thirty plus years later.

    Reply
  28. What a lovely and informative post, Andrea.
    When I had my PhD thesis bound, I visited a bookbinder on campus and was able to select the endpapers from an assortment of beautiful marbled papers. Now I wonder if the bookbinder made his own papers. I also wonder if that shop is still there some thirty plus years later.

    Reply
  29. What a lovely and informative post, Andrea.
    When I had my PhD thesis bound, I visited a bookbinder on campus and was able to select the endpapers from an assortment of beautiful marbled papers. Now I wonder if the bookbinder made his own papers. I also wonder if that shop is still there some thirty plus years later.

    Reply
  30. What a lovely and informative post, Andrea.
    When I had my PhD thesis bound, I visited a bookbinder on campus and was able to select the endpapers from an assortment of beautiful marbled papers. Now I wonder if the bookbinder made his own papers. I also wonder if that shop is still there some thirty plus years later.

    Reply
  31. I just checked and while the bookbinder facility still remains on campus, it no longer binds dissertations. Instead there is a link to a print on demand company. There is no option at that site for marbled endpapers.

    Reply
  32. I just checked and while the bookbinder facility still remains on campus, it no longer binds dissertations. Instead there is a link to a print on demand company. There is no option at that site for marbled endpapers.

    Reply
  33. I just checked and while the bookbinder facility still remains on campus, it no longer binds dissertations. Instead there is a link to a print on demand company. There is no option at that site for marbled endpapers.

    Reply
  34. I just checked and while the bookbinder facility still remains on campus, it no longer binds dissertations. Instead there is a link to a print on demand company. There is no option at that site for marbled endpapers.

    Reply
  35. I just checked and while the bookbinder facility still remains on campus, it no longer binds dissertations. Instead there is a link to a print on demand company. There is no option at that site for marbled endpapers.

    Reply
  36. I would like to find some marbled paper to fix some books I have. What banknotes did The Bank of England have in 1690?

    Reply
  37. I would like to find some marbled paper to fix some books I have. What banknotes did The Bank of England have in 1690?

    Reply
  38. I would like to find some marbled paper to fix some books I have. What banknotes did The Bank of England have in 1690?

    Reply
  39. I would like to find some marbled paper to fix some books I have. What banknotes did The Bank of England have in 1690?

    Reply
  40. I would like to find some marbled paper to fix some books I have. What banknotes did The Bank of England have in 1690?

    Reply
  41. Oh, sigh, No surprise, but it’s sad to see places like that disappear . How lovey, though, that you got to bind your PhD thesis with marbled paper. Such an accomplishment deserves such splendor!

    Reply
  42. Oh, sigh, No surprise, but it’s sad to see places like that disappear . How lovey, though, that you got to bind your PhD thesis with marbled paper. Such an accomplishment deserves such splendor!

    Reply
  43. Oh, sigh, No surprise, but it’s sad to see places like that disappear . How lovey, though, that you got to bind your PhD thesis with marbled paper. Such an accomplishment deserves such splendor!

    Reply
  44. Oh, sigh, No surprise, but it’s sad to see places like that disappear . How lovey, though, that you got to bind your PhD thesis with marbled paper. Such an accomplishment deserves such splendor!

    Reply
  45. Oh, sigh, No surprise, but it’s sad to see places like that disappear . How lovey, though, that you got to bind your PhD thesis with marbled paper. Such an accomplishment deserves such splendor!

    Reply
  46. Try some specialty art stores, Nacy. Maybe Hull’s in New Haven, CT which serves the Yale University Art School.(I’m sure they have a website)
    I really don’t know any of the details on the banknotes. It was just a small aside in a history of marbled paper that I read and thought was fascinating, so I mentioned it here. I will eventually look it up because I’d like to know more, too.

    Reply
  47. Try some specialty art stores, Nacy. Maybe Hull’s in New Haven, CT which serves the Yale University Art School.(I’m sure they have a website)
    I really don’t know any of the details on the banknotes. It was just a small aside in a history of marbled paper that I read and thought was fascinating, so I mentioned it here. I will eventually look it up because I’d like to know more, too.

    Reply
  48. Try some specialty art stores, Nacy. Maybe Hull’s in New Haven, CT which serves the Yale University Art School.(I’m sure they have a website)
    I really don’t know any of the details on the banknotes. It was just a small aside in a history of marbled paper that I read and thought was fascinating, so I mentioned it here. I will eventually look it up because I’d like to know more, too.

    Reply
  49. Try some specialty art stores, Nacy. Maybe Hull’s in New Haven, CT which serves the Yale University Art School.(I’m sure they have a website)
    I really don’t know any of the details on the banknotes. It was just a small aside in a history of marbled paper that I read and thought was fascinating, so I mentioned it here. I will eventually look it up because I’d like to know more, too.

    Reply
  50. Try some specialty art stores, Nacy. Maybe Hull’s in New Haven, CT which serves the Yale University Art School.(I’m sure they have a website)
    I really don’t know any of the details on the banknotes. It was just a small aside in a history of marbled paper that I read and thought was fascinating, so I mentioned it here. I will eventually look it up because I’d like to know more, too.

    Reply
  51. Andrea-I loved your post! And I love marbled end papers. Actually, I love beautiful paper of any kind. There’s something about a fine binding and its elegant endpapers. Not quite the same as reading a book on your device. Just sayin’…

    Reply
  52. Andrea-I loved your post! And I love marbled end papers. Actually, I love beautiful paper of any kind. There’s something about a fine binding and its elegant endpapers. Not quite the same as reading a book on your device. Just sayin’…

    Reply
  53. Andrea-I loved your post! And I love marbled end papers. Actually, I love beautiful paper of any kind. There’s something about a fine binding and its elegant endpapers. Not quite the same as reading a book on your device. Just sayin’…

    Reply
  54. Andrea-I loved your post! And I love marbled end papers. Actually, I love beautiful paper of any kind. There’s something about a fine binding and its elegant endpapers. Not quite the same as reading a book on your device. Just sayin’…

    Reply
  55. Andrea-I loved your post! And I love marbled end papers. Actually, I love beautiful paper of any kind. There’s something about a fine binding and its elegant endpapers. Not quite the same as reading a book on your device. Just sayin’…

    Reply
  56. I may have a few old books with marbled endpaper. It’s very beautiful, and looks like fun to try. I’m surprised no one has figured out a way to computerize it yet!

    Reply
  57. I may have a few old books with marbled endpaper. It’s very beautiful, and looks like fun to try. I’m surprised no one has figured out a way to computerize it yet!

    Reply
  58. I may have a few old books with marbled endpaper. It’s very beautiful, and looks like fun to try. I’m surprised no one has figured out a way to computerize it yet!

    Reply
  59. I may have a few old books with marbled endpaper. It’s very beautiful, and looks like fun to try. I’m surprised no one has figured out a way to computerize it yet!

    Reply
  60. I may have a few old books with marbled endpaper. It’s very beautiful, and looks like fun to try. I’m surprised no one has figured out a way to computerize it yet!

    Reply
  61. Loved your post Andrea. In our art class we have made bubble prints—which is a type of marbling. You put a little squirt of dish washing detergent into a large bowl and then add water until it foams with bubbles. Then you add drops of food coloring into the bubbles. After that, you dip watercolor paper into the bubbles and then hang paper to dry. It makes beautiful paper and a lovely activity to do with children as well.

    Reply
  62. Loved your post Andrea. In our art class we have made bubble prints—which is a type of marbling. You put a little squirt of dish washing detergent into a large bowl and then add water until it foams with bubbles. Then you add drops of food coloring into the bubbles. After that, you dip watercolor paper into the bubbles and then hang paper to dry. It makes beautiful paper and a lovely activity to do with children as well.

    Reply
  63. Loved your post Andrea. In our art class we have made bubble prints—which is a type of marbling. You put a little squirt of dish washing detergent into a large bowl and then add water until it foams with bubbles. Then you add drops of food coloring into the bubbles. After that, you dip watercolor paper into the bubbles and then hang paper to dry. It makes beautiful paper and a lovely activity to do with children as well.

    Reply
  64. Loved your post Andrea. In our art class we have made bubble prints—which is a type of marbling. You put a little squirt of dish washing detergent into a large bowl and then add water until it foams with bubbles. Then you add drops of food coloring into the bubbles. After that, you dip watercolor paper into the bubbles and then hang paper to dry. It makes beautiful paper and a lovely activity to do with children as well.

    Reply
  65. Loved your post Andrea. In our art class we have made bubble prints—which is a type of marbling. You put a little squirt of dish washing detergent into a large bowl and then add water until it foams with bubbles. Then you add drops of food coloring into the bubbles. After that, you dip watercolor paper into the bubbles and then hang paper to dry. It makes beautiful paper and a lovely activity to do with children as well.

    Reply
  66. This post hit home for me. My father passed away 18 years ago today, He trained as a book binder in Germany before WWII. He was an apprentice for several years learning the trade. He did learn how to marble paper and he used them when binding special books. He did that as a young man in Lichtenstein before needing to leave Europe to avoid being drafted into Hitler’s forces. He got to England and did some book binding there as well. He had many other jobs in his life but always found time to bind or rebind books. He did wood turning and carpentry most of his life. I did get to watch him work when he bound books but I was just a little one so he was cautious with all the sharp tools around and hot glue I have a few of the books and items he used decorative paper on.
    Thanks Andrea for this timely (for me) post, Helps me remember my wonderful Papa.

    Reply
  67. This post hit home for me. My father passed away 18 years ago today, He trained as a book binder in Germany before WWII. He was an apprentice for several years learning the trade. He did learn how to marble paper and he used them when binding special books. He did that as a young man in Lichtenstein before needing to leave Europe to avoid being drafted into Hitler’s forces. He got to England and did some book binding there as well. He had many other jobs in his life but always found time to bind or rebind books. He did wood turning and carpentry most of his life. I did get to watch him work when he bound books but I was just a little one so he was cautious with all the sharp tools around and hot glue I have a few of the books and items he used decorative paper on.
    Thanks Andrea for this timely (for me) post, Helps me remember my wonderful Papa.

    Reply
  68. This post hit home for me. My father passed away 18 years ago today, He trained as a book binder in Germany before WWII. He was an apprentice for several years learning the trade. He did learn how to marble paper and he used them when binding special books. He did that as a young man in Lichtenstein before needing to leave Europe to avoid being drafted into Hitler’s forces. He got to England and did some book binding there as well. He had many other jobs in his life but always found time to bind or rebind books. He did wood turning and carpentry most of his life. I did get to watch him work when he bound books but I was just a little one so he was cautious with all the sharp tools around and hot glue I have a few of the books and items he used decorative paper on.
    Thanks Andrea for this timely (for me) post, Helps me remember my wonderful Papa.

    Reply
  69. This post hit home for me. My father passed away 18 years ago today, He trained as a book binder in Germany before WWII. He was an apprentice for several years learning the trade. He did learn how to marble paper and he used them when binding special books. He did that as a young man in Lichtenstein before needing to leave Europe to avoid being drafted into Hitler’s forces. He got to England and did some book binding there as well. He had many other jobs in his life but always found time to bind or rebind books. He did wood turning and carpentry most of his life. I did get to watch him work when he bound books but I was just a little one so he was cautious with all the sharp tools around and hot glue I have a few of the books and items he used decorative paper on.
    Thanks Andrea for this timely (for me) post, Helps me remember my wonderful Papa.

    Reply
  70. This post hit home for me. My father passed away 18 years ago today, He trained as a book binder in Germany before WWII. He was an apprentice for several years learning the trade. He did learn how to marble paper and he used them when binding special books. He did that as a young man in Lichtenstein before needing to leave Europe to avoid being drafted into Hitler’s forces. He got to England and did some book binding there as well. He had many other jobs in his life but always found time to bind or rebind books. He did wood turning and carpentry most of his life. I did get to watch him work when he bound books but I was just a little one so he was cautious with all the sharp tools around and hot glue I have a few of the books and items he used decorative paper on.
    Thanks Andrea for this timely (for me) post, Helps me remember my wonderful Papa.

    Reply
  71. Margot, what wonderful memories. Your father sounds like such a wonderful craftsman with his bookbinding and woodworking skills. So glad the post brought back fond memories. I am so glad you have some of your father’s work to cherish and remind you of him.

    Reply
  72. Margot, what wonderful memories. Your father sounds like such a wonderful craftsman with his bookbinding and woodworking skills. So glad the post brought back fond memories. I am so glad you have some of your father’s work to cherish and remind you of him.

    Reply
  73. Margot, what wonderful memories. Your father sounds like such a wonderful craftsman with his bookbinding and woodworking skills. So glad the post brought back fond memories. I am so glad you have some of your father’s work to cherish and remind you of him.

    Reply
  74. Margot, what wonderful memories. Your father sounds like such a wonderful craftsman with his bookbinding and woodworking skills. So glad the post brought back fond memories. I am so glad you have some of your father’s work to cherish and remind you of him.

    Reply
  75. Margot, what wonderful memories. Your father sounds like such a wonderful craftsman with his bookbinding and woodworking skills. So glad the post brought back fond memories. I am so glad you have some of your father’s work to cherish and remind you of him.

    Reply
  76. I want to thank each of you for the wonderful memories you have shared with us.
    Andrea, this is a terrific post. My father had quite a few older books with marbled endpapers. Unfortunately, he chose to include someone into our family who had no interest in the antiques and books that had been accumulated. Things were disposed of without sharing where they were going. But, I do remember the smell of those books and the fact that the stories in them were nearly all about history of early Indiana and also history of the Civil War.
    I agree with what has been said here, we seldom see glorious marbled papers in books or elsewhere.
    I am a fan of papers. I used to have various types of stationery and I wrote letters regularly. I wrote Mr Wonderful every day when he was in Viet Nam.
    Now, people are shocked to get an actual letter or hand written note. That is sad.
    So, to each of you, consider this to be a hand written thank you note and it is on the loveliest of papers.

    Reply
  77. I want to thank each of you for the wonderful memories you have shared with us.
    Andrea, this is a terrific post. My father had quite a few older books with marbled endpapers. Unfortunately, he chose to include someone into our family who had no interest in the antiques and books that had been accumulated. Things were disposed of without sharing where they were going. But, I do remember the smell of those books and the fact that the stories in them were nearly all about history of early Indiana and also history of the Civil War.
    I agree with what has been said here, we seldom see glorious marbled papers in books or elsewhere.
    I am a fan of papers. I used to have various types of stationery and I wrote letters regularly. I wrote Mr Wonderful every day when he was in Viet Nam.
    Now, people are shocked to get an actual letter or hand written note. That is sad.
    So, to each of you, consider this to be a hand written thank you note and it is on the loveliest of papers.

    Reply
  78. I want to thank each of you for the wonderful memories you have shared with us.
    Andrea, this is a terrific post. My father had quite a few older books with marbled endpapers. Unfortunately, he chose to include someone into our family who had no interest in the antiques and books that had been accumulated. Things were disposed of without sharing where they were going. But, I do remember the smell of those books and the fact that the stories in them were nearly all about history of early Indiana and also history of the Civil War.
    I agree with what has been said here, we seldom see glorious marbled papers in books or elsewhere.
    I am a fan of papers. I used to have various types of stationery and I wrote letters regularly. I wrote Mr Wonderful every day when he was in Viet Nam.
    Now, people are shocked to get an actual letter or hand written note. That is sad.
    So, to each of you, consider this to be a hand written thank you note and it is on the loveliest of papers.

    Reply
  79. I want to thank each of you for the wonderful memories you have shared with us.
    Andrea, this is a terrific post. My father had quite a few older books with marbled endpapers. Unfortunately, he chose to include someone into our family who had no interest in the antiques and books that had been accumulated. Things were disposed of without sharing where they were going. But, I do remember the smell of those books and the fact that the stories in them were nearly all about history of early Indiana and also history of the Civil War.
    I agree with what has been said here, we seldom see glorious marbled papers in books or elsewhere.
    I am a fan of papers. I used to have various types of stationery and I wrote letters regularly. I wrote Mr Wonderful every day when he was in Viet Nam.
    Now, people are shocked to get an actual letter or hand written note. That is sad.
    So, to each of you, consider this to be a hand written thank you note and it is on the loveliest of papers.

    Reply
  80. I want to thank each of you for the wonderful memories you have shared with us.
    Andrea, this is a terrific post. My father had quite a few older books with marbled endpapers. Unfortunately, he chose to include someone into our family who had no interest in the antiques and books that had been accumulated. Things were disposed of without sharing where they were going. But, I do remember the smell of those books and the fact that the stories in them were nearly all about history of early Indiana and also history of the Civil War.
    I agree with what has been said here, we seldom see glorious marbled papers in books or elsewhere.
    I am a fan of papers. I used to have various types of stationery and I wrote letters regularly. I wrote Mr Wonderful every day when he was in Viet Nam.
    Now, people are shocked to get an actual letter or hand written note. That is sad.
    So, to each of you, consider this to be a hand written thank you note and it is on the loveliest of papers.

    Reply
  81. Annette, your note is beautiful as is. But I am imagining it on beautiful handmade paper. I love nice stationery, and you are reminding me that s I should write more actual letters. As you say, they are rare these days, and that much more precious.
    I’m sorry you lost your father’s beautiful books.I know exactly what you mean about the smell!

    Reply
  82. Annette, your note is beautiful as is. But I am imagining it on beautiful handmade paper. I love nice stationery, and you are reminding me that s I should write more actual letters. As you say, they are rare these days, and that much more precious.
    I’m sorry you lost your father’s beautiful books.I know exactly what you mean about the smell!

    Reply
  83. Annette, your note is beautiful as is. But I am imagining it on beautiful handmade paper. I love nice stationery, and you are reminding me that s I should write more actual letters. As you say, they are rare these days, and that much more precious.
    I’m sorry you lost your father’s beautiful books.I know exactly what you mean about the smell!

    Reply
  84. Annette, your note is beautiful as is. But I am imagining it on beautiful handmade paper. I love nice stationery, and you are reminding me that s I should write more actual letters. As you say, they are rare these days, and that much more precious.
    I’m sorry you lost your father’s beautiful books.I know exactly what you mean about the smell!

    Reply
  85. Annette, your note is beautiful as is. But I am imagining it on beautiful handmade paper. I love nice stationery, and you are reminding me that s I should write more actual letters. As you say, they are rare these days, and that much more precious.
    I’m sorry you lost your father’s beautiful books.I know exactly what you mean about the smell!

    Reply
  86. I worked in a university library for many years & we had a great Special Coll. I admired many of the end papers from many of those books but never knew how they were done till now. Thanks, Andrea! Have you ever seen the painted edges in books, where a scene is painted on the page edges–usually with the book slightly opened or slanted to make the page edge wider? We pulled one in for Spec that had a battle scene of Navy ships painted on it. Fascinating–the amount of detail, and they had to be hand-painted for each book! Yes, very, very small brushes! Looking at that picture, I wasn’t sure which would go first, my eyesight or my hand!
    I went looking for an example or two & found a short essay about “fore-edge” painting on the university’s Special Coll. website! Amazing! https://spec.lib.miamioh.edu/home/abc-for-book-collectors-fore-edge-painting/

    Reply
  87. I worked in a university library for many years & we had a great Special Coll. I admired many of the end papers from many of those books but never knew how they were done till now. Thanks, Andrea! Have you ever seen the painted edges in books, where a scene is painted on the page edges–usually with the book slightly opened or slanted to make the page edge wider? We pulled one in for Spec that had a battle scene of Navy ships painted on it. Fascinating–the amount of detail, and they had to be hand-painted for each book! Yes, very, very small brushes! Looking at that picture, I wasn’t sure which would go first, my eyesight or my hand!
    I went looking for an example or two & found a short essay about “fore-edge” painting on the university’s Special Coll. website! Amazing! https://spec.lib.miamioh.edu/home/abc-for-book-collectors-fore-edge-painting/

    Reply
  88. I worked in a university library for many years & we had a great Special Coll. I admired many of the end papers from many of those books but never knew how they were done till now. Thanks, Andrea! Have you ever seen the painted edges in books, where a scene is painted on the page edges–usually with the book slightly opened or slanted to make the page edge wider? We pulled one in for Spec that had a battle scene of Navy ships painted on it. Fascinating–the amount of detail, and they had to be hand-painted for each book! Yes, very, very small brushes! Looking at that picture, I wasn’t sure which would go first, my eyesight or my hand!
    I went looking for an example or two & found a short essay about “fore-edge” painting on the university’s Special Coll. website! Amazing! https://spec.lib.miamioh.edu/home/abc-for-book-collectors-fore-edge-painting/

    Reply
  89. I worked in a university library for many years & we had a great Special Coll. I admired many of the end papers from many of those books but never knew how they were done till now. Thanks, Andrea! Have you ever seen the painted edges in books, where a scene is painted on the page edges–usually with the book slightly opened or slanted to make the page edge wider? We pulled one in for Spec that had a battle scene of Navy ships painted on it. Fascinating–the amount of detail, and they had to be hand-painted for each book! Yes, very, very small brushes! Looking at that picture, I wasn’t sure which would go first, my eyesight or my hand!
    I went looking for an example or two & found a short essay about “fore-edge” painting on the university’s Special Coll. website! Amazing! https://spec.lib.miamioh.edu/home/abc-for-book-collectors-fore-edge-painting/

    Reply
  90. I worked in a university library for many years & we had a great Special Coll. I admired many of the end papers from many of those books but never knew how they were done till now. Thanks, Andrea! Have you ever seen the painted edges in books, where a scene is painted on the page edges–usually with the book slightly opened or slanted to make the page edge wider? We pulled one in for Spec that had a battle scene of Navy ships painted on it. Fascinating–the amount of detail, and they had to be hand-painted for each book! Yes, very, very small brushes! Looking at that picture, I wasn’t sure which would go first, my eyesight or my hand!
    I went looking for an example or two & found a short essay about “fore-edge” painting on the university’s Special Coll. website! Amazing! https://spec.lib.miamioh.edu/home/abc-for-book-collectors-fore-edge-painting/

    Reply
  91. What a wonderful post, Andrea. I’ve long wished to try my hand at marbling paper. The supplies are easily available, and I’ve seen amazing videos of true authentic professionals doing it to amateurs having a great time. The sheer number of varieties is daunting, from traditional to new color combinations. However, everything old is new again. Just when you think something looks shockingly modern…someone else thought of it centuries ago.
    I have no old books with marbling, alas. Loving paper in all its variations and a paper horder, I’m surprised I don’t have any authentic marbled paper, just the fake printed stationery kind.
    My newest old paper thrill are the books whose exposed edges have a painted scene on them. Some of these are hidden until the pages are fanned out, like when a large volume is open and the page edges are sloped into a much larger space than when the book is closed. Fascinating.

    Reply
  92. What a wonderful post, Andrea. I’ve long wished to try my hand at marbling paper. The supplies are easily available, and I’ve seen amazing videos of true authentic professionals doing it to amateurs having a great time. The sheer number of varieties is daunting, from traditional to new color combinations. However, everything old is new again. Just when you think something looks shockingly modern…someone else thought of it centuries ago.
    I have no old books with marbling, alas. Loving paper in all its variations and a paper horder, I’m surprised I don’t have any authentic marbled paper, just the fake printed stationery kind.
    My newest old paper thrill are the books whose exposed edges have a painted scene on them. Some of these are hidden until the pages are fanned out, like when a large volume is open and the page edges are sloped into a much larger space than when the book is closed. Fascinating.

    Reply
  93. What a wonderful post, Andrea. I’ve long wished to try my hand at marbling paper. The supplies are easily available, and I’ve seen amazing videos of true authentic professionals doing it to amateurs having a great time. The sheer number of varieties is daunting, from traditional to new color combinations. However, everything old is new again. Just when you think something looks shockingly modern…someone else thought of it centuries ago.
    I have no old books with marbling, alas. Loving paper in all its variations and a paper horder, I’m surprised I don’t have any authentic marbled paper, just the fake printed stationery kind.
    My newest old paper thrill are the books whose exposed edges have a painted scene on them. Some of these are hidden until the pages are fanned out, like when a large volume is open and the page edges are sloped into a much larger space than when the book is closed. Fascinating.

    Reply
  94. What a wonderful post, Andrea. I’ve long wished to try my hand at marbling paper. The supplies are easily available, and I’ve seen amazing videos of true authentic professionals doing it to amateurs having a great time. The sheer number of varieties is daunting, from traditional to new color combinations. However, everything old is new again. Just when you think something looks shockingly modern…someone else thought of it centuries ago.
    I have no old books with marbling, alas. Loving paper in all its variations and a paper horder, I’m surprised I don’t have any authentic marbled paper, just the fake printed stationery kind.
    My newest old paper thrill are the books whose exposed edges have a painted scene on them. Some of these are hidden until the pages are fanned out, like when a large volume is open and the page edges are sloped into a much larger space than when the book is closed. Fascinating.

    Reply
  95. What a wonderful post, Andrea. I’ve long wished to try my hand at marbling paper. The supplies are easily available, and I’ve seen amazing videos of true authentic professionals doing it to amateurs having a great time. The sheer number of varieties is daunting, from traditional to new color combinations. However, everything old is new again. Just when you think something looks shockingly modern…someone else thought of it centuries ago.
    I have no old books with marbling, alas. Loving paper in all its variations and a paper horder, I’m surprised I don’t have any authentic marbled paper, just the fake printed stationery kind.
    My newest old paper thrill are the books whose exposed edges have a painted scene on them. Some of these are hidden until the pages are fanned out, like when a large volume is open and the page edges are sloped into a much larger space than when the book is closed. Fascinating.

    Reply
  96. Oh Karen, I just waxed ecstatic over the very same subject in your comment without reading it! Embarrassing. Thank you for the link. Yes, it is amazing.

    Reply
  97. Oh Karen, I just waxed ecstatic over the very same subject in your comment without reading it! Embarrassing. Thank you for the link. Yes, it is amazing.

    Reply
  98. Oh Karen, I just waxed ecstatic over the very same subject in your comment without reading it! Embarrassing. Thank you for the link. Yes, it is amazing.

    Reply
  99. Oh Karen, I just waxed ecstatic over the very same subject in your comment without reading it! Embarrassing. Thank you for the link. Yes, it is amazing.

    Reply
  100. Oh Karen, I just waxed ecstatic over the very same subject in your comment without reading it! Embarrassing. Thank you for the link. Yes, it is amazing.

    Reply
  101. How very cool, Karen. You must have seen some incredibly wonderful things.
    Yes, I have seen fore-edge painting! I studied graphic design, with a concentration in book design, and was lucky enough to see some amazing rare books and book arts examples from Yale’s special collections. Just amazing.
    As you say-the detail! Its like when I see illuminated manuscripts and think of the monks laboring by candlelight and yet still creating such tiny and exquisitely detailed painting. I don’t know how they did it!

    Reply
  102. How very cool, Karen. You must have seen some incredibly wonderful things.
    Yes, I have seen fore-edge painting! I studied graphic design, with a concentration in book design, and was lucky enough to see some amazing rare books and book arts examples from Yale’s special collections. Just amazing.
    As you say-the detail! Its like when I see illuminated manuscripts and think of the monks laboring by candlelight and yet still creating such tiny and exquisitely detailed painting. I don’t know how they did it!

    Reply
  103. How very cool, Karen. You must have seen some incredibly wonderful things.
    Yes, I have seen fore-edge painting! I studied graphic design, with a concentration in book design, and was lucky enough to see some amazing rare books and book arts examples from Yale’s special collections. Just amazing.
    As you say-the detail! Its like when I see illuminated manuscripts and think of the monks laboring by candlelight and yet still creating such tiny and exquisitely detailed painting. I don’t know how they did it!

    Reply
  104. How very cool, Karen. You must have seen some incredibly wonderful things.
    Yes, I have seen fore-edge painting! I studied graphic design, with a concentration in book design, and was lucky enough to see some amazing rare books and book arts examples from Yale’s special collections. Just amazing.
    As you say-the detail! Its like when I see illuminated manuscripts and think of the monks laboring by candlelight and yet still creating such tiny and exquisitely detailed painting. I don’t know how they did it!

    Reply
  105. How very cool, Karen. You must have seen some incredibly wonderful things.
    Yes, I have seen fore-edge painting! I studied graphic design, with a concentration in book design, and was lucky enough to see some amazing rare books and book arts examples from Yale’s special collections. Just amazing.
    As you say-the detail! Its like when I see illuminated manuscripts and think of the monks laboring by candlelight and yet still creating such tiny and exquisitely detailed painting. I don’t know how they did it!

    Reply
  106. So glad you enjoyed it, Michelle. You really should try it—it truly isn’t hard . . . maybe a little messy, but that’s part of the fun.
    Your can definitely find real marbled paper. TexasGal suggested Etsy. And there are also specialty art shops which have great paper offerings. Try googling “marbled paperfor sale” and I’m sure you’ll find some.

    Reply
  107. So glad you enjoyed it, Michelle. You really should try it—it truly isn’t hard . . . maybe a little messy, but that’s part of the fun.
    Your can definitely find real marbled paper. TexasGal suggested Etsy. And there are also specialty art shops which have great paper offerings. Try googling “marbled paperfor sale” and I’m sure you’ll find some.

    Reply
  108. So glad you enjoyed it, Michelle. You really should try it—it truly isn’t hard . . . maybe a little messy, but that’s part of the fun.
    Your can definitely find real marbled paper. TexasGal suggested Etsy. And there are also specialty art shops which have great paper offerings. Try googling “marbled paperfor sale” and I’m sure you’ll find some.

    Reply
  109. So glad you enjoyed it, Michelle. You really should try it—it truly isn’t hard . . . maybe a little messy, but that’s part of the fun.
    Your can definitely find real marbled paper. TexasGal suggested Etsy. And there are also specialty art shops which have great paper offerings. Try googling “marbled paperfor sale” and I’m sure you’ll find some.

    Reply
  110. So glad you enjoyed it, Michelle. You really should try it—it truly isn’t hard . . . maybe a little messy, but that’s part of the fun.
    Your can definitely find real marbled paper. TexasGal suggested Etsy. And there are also specialty art shops which have great paper offerings. Try googling “marbled paperfor sale” and I’m sure you’ll find some.

    Reply
  111. Wonderful article! I remember the old (1950s) set of encyclopedias we had when I was a kid—each volume had cool, marbled endpapers, and the edges of the papers were elaborately decorated as well. I loved looking at them and letting my mind wander.
    I have used marbled papers for art-related projects for years. I am about to take a quality blank book, and fill it with hand-lettered calligraphy of the Hebrew Bible’s epic (and explicit) love poetry—the Song of Songs. Then, I will laminate onto the cover some beautiful marbled paper I have. (Ssshhhhh…don’t tell my wife…it will be a Christmas gift to her!)
    I get my most of my marbled papers from a place called Mulberry Paper and More, at https://www.mulberrypaperandmore.com/c-211-marbled-paper.aspx where they have gorgeous marbled papers in a wide range of colors, patterns, styles, and from multiple countries around the world.

    Reply
  112. Wonderful article! I remember the old (1950s) set of encyclopedias we had when I was a kid—each volume had cool, marbled endpapers, and the edges of the papers were elaborately decorated as well. I loved looking at them and letting my mind wander.
    I have used marbled papers for art-related projects for years. I am about to take a quality blank book, and fill it with hand-lettered calligraphy of the Hebrew Bible’s epic (and explicit) love poetry—the Song of Songs. Then, I will laminate onto the cover some beautiful marbled paper I have. (Ssshhhhh…don’t tell my wife…it will be a Christmas gift to her!)
    I get my most of my marbled papers from a place called Mulberry Paper and More, at https://www.mulberrypaperandmore.com/c-211-marbled-paper.aspx where they have gorgeous marbled papers in a wide range of colors, patterns, styles, and from multiple countries around the world.

    Reply
  113. Wonderful article! I remember the old (1950s) set of encyclopedias we had when I was a kid—each volume had cool, marbled endpapers, and the edges of the papers were elaborately decorated as well. I loved looking at them and letting my mind wander.
    I have used marbled papers for art-related projects for years. I am about to take a quality blank book, and fill it with hand-lettered calligraphy of the Hebrew Bible’s epic (and explicit) love poetry—the Song of Songs. Then, I will laminate onto the cover some beautiful marbled paper I have. (Ssshhhhh…don’t tell my wife…it will be a Christmas gift to her!)
    I get my most of my marbled papers from a place called Mulberry Paper and More, at https://www.mulberrypaperandmore.com/c-211-marbled-paper.aspx where they have gorgeous marbled papers in a wide range of colors, patterns, styles, and from multiple countries around the world.

    Reply
  114. Wonderful article! I remember the old (1950s) set of encyclopedias we had when I was a kid—each volume had cool, marbled endpapers, and the edges of the papers were elaborately decorated as well. I loved looking at them and letting my mind wander.
    I have used marbled papers for art-related projects for years. I am about to take a quality blank book, and fill it with hand-lettered calligraphy of the Hebrew Bible’s epic (and explicit) love poetry—the Song of Songs. Then, I will laminate onto the cover some beautiful marbled paper I have. (Ssshhhhh…don’t tell my wife…it will be a Christmas gift to her!)
    I get my most of my marbled papers from a place called Mulberry Paper and More, at https://www.mulberrypaperandmore.com/c-211-marbled-paper.aspx where they have gorgeous marbled papers in a wide range of colors, patterns, styles, and from multiple countries around the world.

    Reply
  115. Wonderful article! I remember the old (1950s) set of encyclopedias we had when I was a kid—each volume had cool, marbled endpapers, and the edges of the papers were elaborately decorated as well. I loved looking at them and letting my mind wander.
    I have used marbled papers for art-related projects for years. I am about to take a quality blank book, and fill it with hand-lettered calligraphy of the Hebrew Bible’s epic (and explicit) love poetry—the Song of Songs. Then, I will laminate onto the cover some beautiful marbled paper I have. (Ssshhhhh…don’t tell my wife…it will be a Christmas gift to her!)
    I get my most of my marbled papers from a place called Mulberry Paper and More, at https://www.mulberrypaperandmore.com/c-211-marbled-paper.aspx where they have gorgeous marbled papers in a wide range of colors, patterns, styles, and from multiple countries around the world.

    Reply

Leave a Comment