Modern marbled papers

Marbled papers are among the best known decorated papers. They appear in many varieties. This type of decorated paper was often used by bookbinders for endpapers and wrappers. The production of marbled paper consists of a number of consecutive steps and requires great technical skill. In a shallow tray, solutions of pigments are sprinkled onto the surface of a watery substance, traditionally an extract of Irish moss. Sometimes, substances are added to the solutions that influence the way the colours spread over the surface. Using combs or other pointed implements, the marbler then works the colours into different patterns. Then a sheet of paper is carefully put onto the surface of the tray from one of the corners. When it is lifted again, the pattern has been transferred to the sheet. After removing the rest of the colours from the marbling tray, new colours can be sprinkled onto the surface and a new sheet of marbled paper can be made.

The examples of modern marblers show how the same basic technique can lead to very different results. Marblers often experiment to find new varieties, and often coincidence plays a role in finding them. Van Oostrum has developed a clearly distinctive style, as has Karli Frigge, whose characteristic marbled papers have won her fame both in the Netherlands and abroad.

Drawn marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw-Vennep, 1993. [PC SERIE W 01]

Drawn marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw-Vennep, 1993. [PC SERIE W 01]

Spanish marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw-Vennep, 1991. [PC SERIE W 02]

Spanish marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw-Vennep, 1991. [PC SERIE W 02]

Drawn marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw Vennep, 1992. [PC SERIE W 03]

Drawn marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw Vennep, 1992. [PC SERIE W 03]

Drawn marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw Vennep, 1993. [PC SERIE W 04]

Drawn marbled paper. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw Vennep, 1993. [PC SERIE W 04]

Marbled paper with combed curled pattern. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw Vennep, 1990. [PC SERIE W 05]

Marbled paper with combed curled pattern. Janrein van Oostrum, Nieuw Vennep, 1990. [PC SERIE W 05]

Marble artwork. Karli Frigge, Joppe, 1980. [PC SERIE W 06]

Marble artwork. Karli Frigge, Joppe, 1980. [PC SERIE W 06]

Peacock design marbled paper. Karli Frigge, Joppe, ca. 1985. [PC SERIE W 07]

Peacock design marbled paper. Karli Frigge, Joppe, ca. 1985. [PC SERIE W 07]