The journal of design and manufactures
Review of patterns: paper-hangings, pp. 169-174 ff.
170 Paper-Htangings. origin of the process. Printing on paper from cut wooden blocks is of great antiquity, and any history of wood-engraving will demonstrate not only the universality of the manufacture of large coarse representations of scripture subjects, but also the prevalence of the practice of pasting them up as mural decorations (in imitation of the paintings and hangings of the rich) in the cottages of Germany and Italy, in the fifteenth century. How far this may have been the origin of decorative paper-hangings the writer must here suggest rather than discuss, but he cannot help observing that the primitive form of production, that of printing a rude outline in one tint, leaving the colours to be filled in by hand, is singularly identical, both in the treatment of these early broadsides and in the first or earliest known paper-hangings. In a couple of most interesting and practical notices read ten years ago to the Institute of British Architects by Mr. Crace, a large mass of facts relating to the history of the manufacture was brought together; but we cannot help feeling that in them the claims of England to the honour of the origination of such decorations are a little too strongly insinuated. From statutes in France referred to by Mr. Crace, it appears that paper-staining was recognised as a trade as early as 1586. The earliest blocks for the manufacture known were those of Francois, who worked at Rouen in 1620. The process of "flocking," now so important an element in the ornament of paper, was patented in England by Jerome Lanyer (evidently Laimdr) in May 1634, but the terms of his patent enumerate almost every substance to which flock could be applied, except paper. The stamped and japanne leather-hangings of the days of the Renaissance, the imported Gobelins, and native Mortlake tapestries, had no doubt infused into the people a taste for decorations of a rich kind, and very probably the introduction from India of the beautiful hand-painted papers we occasionally meet with in old-fashioned houses, perhaps suggesting the material, no doubt tended to popularise this art in England. In the year 1712 we find printing on paper recognised as a tradeq by the imposition of a tax of I Id. per square yard for printing, independent of the duty on the paper itself. Forty-two years later we meet with the singular advertisetnent of Mr. Jackson of Battersea, who undertakes the execution of imitations of statues, "lively portraictures" of gods and goddesses in chiar' oscuro, on paper. Somewhat later we meet in the trade with the names of Messrs. Tootle and Young, Boyle, Graves, Pickering, Hall, &c. Under the care and energy of these manufacturers the English papers began to acquire a Continental reputation, and a considerable export trade was established. Our goods were forwarded to America, Spain, and several of the other European countries. Now, alas! matters stand very differently, since we now import far more than we used then to export. In 1786 George and Frederick Echardts established the great Chelsea factory, and the papers they manufactured are still well known in the trade. It is a curious fact that the process of flocking so early known should have been apparently lost from about 1780 to 1800, when it was revived and reintroduced into the business. What are usually known as arabesque papers appear to have been first produced in any excellence by Mr. Sherringham of Marlborough Street, through whose enterprise two foreigners, Louis and Rosetti, were induced to work in this country. The Government restrictions on the trade have always borne heavily upon it. The payment of 201. for an annual license imposed by the 24 George III. c. 41 ; the declaration that all paper-hangings "must be executed on first-class paper," 42 George III. c. 94; the excise duty on paper of 3d. per pound, and the lid. per square yard for printing, all combined to keep up the price, and enable the French to outstrip us, and, consequently, to shut up the trade, and prevent competition. Of course when paper was only made in moulds of certain sizes, in order to manufacture a piece of paper-hanging twelve yards long, it became necessary to stick as many as sixteen or eighteen sheets together, and in printing and wear it was impossible to prevent the joints from shewing. The inventions of M. Didot of Paris, the improvements effected by Mr. Donkin, and, finally, the
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