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
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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.