A facsimile reproduction and translation into English of the earliest extant German treatise on paper marbling and decoration, together with an introductory discussion of the earliest specialized literature in Germany on the marbling and decoration of paper (by Richard J. Wolfe).

  • New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2008.
  • 5.25 x 7.5
  • cloth bound with a cover-paper reproduction of an early German decorated paper
  • 180 pages
  • ISBN: 9781584562436

Price: $60.00  other currencies

Order Nr. 99499

This new work, limited to 300 copies of which 275 are for sale, is a facsimile reproduction and translation of an important early German manual on decorated and marbled paper. Following an introduction by Richard Wolfe, the book displays the facsimile on the left page and a parallel translation on the opposing page.
All available information points to Venice as the entrepôt and to Augsburg, Germany, as the first recognizable production center for the art of marbling paper. The art of marbling was anonymously transferred from the Middle East to Europe shortly before the beginning of the seventeenth century. Germany remained the center for this and other methods of paper decoration in the following centuries, with factory-level industrial manufacturing initiated and carried on from the early nineteenth century. However, since these crafts were conducted in the secretive ways of the medieval guilds during the earlier period of their European life, little detailed information on their methods found its way into print until much later. It was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century that a serious and authoritative literature on marbling and paper decoration began to develop in Germany and in other locations.
In the historical introduction to the facsimile reproduction and his translation of this work, Richard J. Wolfe summarizes the professional literature on marbling and paper coloring that began to appear in Germany at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Der Vollkommne Papierfärber, published around 1823, is the earliest work of its kind that has survived. Wolfe shares his experience with a seemingly unique copy of this rare and seminal treatise that he initially encountered in Leipzig in 1987. He also discusses its relationship to other early pertinent literature that was published in Germany around the same time, particularly the works on bookbinding and paper coloring produced by Christian Freidrich Gottlob Thon. The story has a somewhat surprising ending.

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, published in 1990.