Bronze-varnish paper

Posted on 4th February 2021 by simonbeattie

Over on We Love Endpapers, Twitter, and Instagram all this week, I’ve been sharing examples of bronze-varnish paper, in part because it is often misidentified by booksellers and cataloguers (in the English-speaking world, at least) and I thought some photos might prove useful.

Bronze-varnish paper (Bronzefirnispapier in German) was made in Augsburg between about 1690 and the mid 1730s, after it was eclipsed in popularity by brocade paper. The process was the same as for making block-printed paper, except varnish mixed with ground-up metal was used in place of ink, which often results in a slight grainy finish to the ‘gold’ pattern (whereas, for brocade paper, metal leaf was used, and the design on the finished paper is embossed). Hope you enjoy these!

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