Carta di Varese

Posted on 25th May 2022 by simonbeattie

Last week, We Love Endpapers, the Facebook group I set up (now with over 7000 members!), turned six. To celebrate, I decided to put together a short list featuring various types of historic decorated paper (marbled, sprinkled, bronze-varnish, brocade, block-printed, and paste). One particularly interesting type is Carta di Varese.

Perhaps the most famous Italian firm of decorated-paper manufacturers were the printers Remondini in Bassano. In 1860, after over two hundred years in business, the firm closed down.  The woodblocks used in producing their famous decorated papers were subsequently reassembled and acquired by four female members of the noble Ponti family who, in 1902, granted Giuseppe Rizzi, an enterprising antiques dealer from Varese, a licence to use them again in the production of decorated paper.  These new Remondini papers, printed in multiple colours from the original blocks, found a market in both Italy and abroad, winning prizes at the international exhibitions held at Brussels (1910) and Leipzig (1914), until production ceased in 1939 with the death of Giuseppe Rizzi’s son, Cesare.  They really are amazing when you think they were printed from blocks, not lithographed as many other papers from that date were.

For more details, see Tanya Schmoller, Remondini and Rizzi: a Chapter in Italian Decorated Paper History (Oak Knoll, 1990) and Carla Tocchetti, La Carta di Varese: fascino e splendore (Macchione, 2020).

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