Block-printed papers

Block-printed papers are produced by stamping an inked block, into which patterns have been cut, onto a sheet of paper. Often combinations of blocks are used, each with a part of the image, or, in the case of multi-colour printing, one of the colours. Usually, the block is smaller than the sheet, and it is printed repeatedly on the paper; the shape of the block and the image are then usually designed in such a way that the borders of the blocks can hardly be seen. Typically, the blocks are made of wood, often with metal strips or pins that provide thin lines or series of dots. The paper used was often dyed in a plain colour, but it might also be coloured afterwards, usually with stencils. Block-printed paper is sometimes called callico paper or chintz, a name that is derived from a type of printed cotton from India. The names or initials of the maker of block-printed paper are sometimes found in the border of the blocks and can therefore be seen in the prints. Some of the examples shown have these markings.

Block printed paper (calico paper). Italy, c.1780. [PC SERIE W 25]

Block printed paper (calico paper). Italy, c.1780. [PC SERIE W 25]

Block printed paper (calico paper). Chez Les Associe, Parijs, c.1790. [PC SERIE W 26]

Block printed paper (calico paper). 'Chez Les Associe', Parijs, c.1790. [PC SERIE W 26]

Block printed paper (calico paper). Chez Garnier Allabre, Chartres, ca. 1800. [PC SERIE W 27]

Block printed paper (calico paper). 'Chez Garnier Allabre', Chartres, ca. 1800. [PC SERIE W 27]

Block printed paper (calico paper) applied as a wrapper, c.1820. [PC SERIE W 28]

Block printed paper (calico paper) applied as a wrapper, c.1820. [PC SERIE W 28]

Block printed paper (calico paper), c.1850. [PC SERIE W 29]

Block printed paper (calico paper), c.1850. [PC SERIE W 29]

Block printed paper (calico paper). Germany, c.1780. [PC SERIE W 30]

Block printed paper (calico paper). Germany, c.1780. [PC SERIE W 30]