THE MYSTERIOUS MARBLER. James Sumner, Richard J. Wolfe.



With an historical introduction, notes on the English marbling tradition, and thirteen original marbled samples by Richard J. Wolfe

  • New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2009.
  • 5.5 x 8 inches
  • hardcover
  • 132 pages
  • ISBN: 9781584562696

Price: $60.00  other currencies

Order Nr. 103080

Limited to 300 copies, reprinted from the scarce Bird & Bull private press edition of 1976. This printing of James Sumner's 1854 marbling manual includes a new preface by Richard J. Wolfe. A further note on the English marbling tradition has been added, along with thirteen tipped-in original examples of marbled papers by Wolfe.

The historical introduction, the text of Sumner's pamphlet, and the 1976 endnote appear exactly as they do in the first reprinting by Bird & Bull Press in 1976. Sumner discusses the little-known history of paper marbling prior to the nineteenth century. Marbling was a secretive and well guarded craft. Masters of the profession passed on their knowledge reluctantly to a very limited few, creating a monopoly on the trade. For this reason, printed information on marbling was extremely limited prior to the nineteenth century.

The expansion of the trade, including new ingredients and methods, created a need for the recording of exact patterns and recipes in order to produce marbling in an efficient and precise manner. Therefore, in the 1850s, printed work on marbling began to appear more readily. One of the first manuals on marbling was published in 1853 by Charles Woolnough, and Sumner's much smaller pamphlet could be considered a reinforcement to this earlier work. Sumner's text includes specific information on various types of marbling and precise recipes for their creation.

Sumner's original pamphlet had no exhibit samples attached. Wolfe added thirteen samples of marbled paper that were possibly created by Sumner himself, or by John Hargreaves, his associate, for the 1976 printing. The cover is a facsimile reproduction of an original nineteenth-century English marbled paper in the editor's collection.

Richard J. Wolfe's lengthy career as a rare books and manuscripts librarian has been distinguished by an extensive amount of bibliographical research and writing, especially on the history of marbled and decorated paper. He is also the author of Marbled Paper: Its History, Techniques and Patterns, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989, as well as the translator and editor of Der Vollkommne Papierfärber:The Accomplished Paper Colorer, Oak Knoll Press, 2008.