Midway between popular imagery and wallpaper, fancy paper of all kinds was produced in the workshops of playing card makers, dominotiers and printmakers between 1700 and 1850.
Sheets of fancy paper (dominos) printed from woodblocks and coloured by means of stencils were often used as temporary book bindings; they were fragile and provisional so they have seldom survived. A few object show that they were also used in furnishing or decoration. German embossed or varnished gilt papers, used as endpapers for highly valuable books, have survived better, being protected inside the volumes.
Highly appreciated in the eighteenth century, these fancy papers made the fortune of the most talented craftsmen, who readily signed their work, an exceptional occurrence in a period when anonymity was the rule among the small craftsmen. Names that have come down to us in this way include Sillé in Le Mans, Sevestre Leblond in Orleans, "Les Associées" in Paris; Leopold in Augsbourg and Eckart in Nuremberg; Bertinazzi in Bologna and Remondini in Bassano, the latter ending up with a quasi monopoly of the fancy paper trade in Italy.
Presenting a significant panorama of French, German and Italian papers in the eighteenth century, the exhibition presents a selection of fancy papers from the Mazarine and the Louis Aragon media library in Le Mans, along with loans from private collectors. It furthers and illustrates the pioneering work of André Jammes, and the recently published research of Christiane and Marc Kopylov (Éditions des Cendres). It will probably bring new pieces to light.
An exhibition organised by the Bibliothèque Mazarine,
in collaboration with the Médiathèque Louis Aragon (Le Mans),
and with the participation of Éditions des Cendres.
Curated by Nadine Férey-Pfalzgraf (Médiathèque Louis Aragon), Florine Lévecque-Stankiewicz (Bibliothèque Mazarine) & Marc Kopylov (Éditions des Cendres)