Carta Marmorizzata

May 15, 2012 / Art & Archaeology
Orvieto, Umbria
(…cont’d from here)

Evidence of marbled paper has never been found in China, but authentication of the oldest known method of “floating paper” was discovered to have existed in Japan in 825 C.E. 17th Century travelers to the Middle East brought back examples of marbled papers and adapted the art for book covers, endpapers and lining for chests and shelves. The art continued to develop in Persia and Ottoman Turkey with the foremost marbled paper method, Ebru, dating back to the 19th Century. Turkish paper played an influential role in the European book decorative arts. Happily, renewed popularity and desirability of French and Italian products in the last several decades has contributed to ornamental paper’s healthy comeback.

I visited Lamberto in his laboratorio tucked away on a back street of Orvieto to watch as he demonstrates the complex process employed to create these delicate and intricate sheets of marbled paper. His 15th century studio is filled to the brim with old lithographs, ancient books and archived prints, all made in the ancient Florentine tradition. Lamberto’s passion and dedication is obvious and his willingness to share his knowledge and promote the art of papermaking will ensure it’s survival for generations to come.

See the video “The Story of Paper” below, produced and directed by Steve Brenner of Cross-Pollinate.

Lamberto Bernardini’s Stamperia del Giglio d’Oro, Vicolo dei Dolci, 6, 05018 Orvieto (TR), Tel. +39 0763 343147

Toni DeBella

by Toni DeBella

A Freelance writer and blogger at Orvieto or Bust, Toni recently packed everything she owns into two suitcases and headed to Orvieto, Italy.  She’s adjusted her tennis game to the clay courts and drinks way too many caffe lattes. 

13 Responses to “Carta Marmorizzata”

  1. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Thanks Toni – I once had the chance to marble some paper as part of studies on early printed books in Dublin. This brought back some good memories of making endpapers! Great to see the tradition surviving so well thanks to Lamberto.

    Reply
    • Toni DeBella

      Penny, I know, Lamberto is such an inspiration to me. His passion and commitment to preserving his craft is remarkable. Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed a little “blast from your past”. Toni

      Reply
  2. I, too had this experience years ago and it was incredibly fun and quite magical! Wonderful to see that this tradition lives on.

    Reply
  3. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Toni; the history was most interesting the story line educational but mostly the glimpse into Humberto’s life’s work was edifying. Loved the in depth video. (signed into your blog) Thank you

    Reply
  4. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Oh theses old fingers and misspelling Sorry Lamberto

    Reply
    • Toni DeBella

      Giuseppe,
      Hahaha…you can blame your fingers, I always blame my bad eyesight to typos…It doesn’t matter, I am happy you enjoyed the article and video. Thanks for following me. hugs.toni

      Reply
  5. Angela Sopranzi

    Thank you so very much for taking the time to do the video with Lamberto showing us the procedure for making the marbelized paper. What a treat!!
    Where did you learn your Italian?

    Reply
    • Toni DeBella

      Angela, When you say “learned” my Italian, I would have to say I am still in the process…it’s been a long process. I started studying in Orvieto many years ago and now that I am living there part time, so it’s been a combination of studying formally and then just talking to Italians everyday. No better way to learn than immersion – the sick or swim method of learning a language. I wrote a piece call “Learning Italian by Osmosis” on my blog http://www.orvietoorbust.com. thanks for stopping by. Toni

      Reply
  6. Marbled paper is beautiful to look at and I love the traditional method of creating it, there is a real art to it and the mass produced papers don’t come close in terms of quality. We learned this process when I was still in school it was lots of fun and it is so good to see the tradition continues.

    Reply
    • Toni DeBella

      Sam, It’s a beautiful art and, as you know, it isn’t as easy as it looks. Wasn’t that small book with the marbling on the sides amazing? Could you hear the collective gasp when he showed it. I forgot to ask Lamberto how they accomplished that! Thanks Sam, for stopping by and sharing. Toni

      Reply

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