Rolled Paper


Image of rolled paper tea caddy circa 1800
courtesy of www.hygra.com
Antique Boxes at the Sign of the Hygra
2 Middleton Road, London E8 4BL, United Kingdom
"It is amazing to me," said Bingley, "how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they all are."
"All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean?"
"Yes all of them, I think. They all paint tables, cover skreens, and net purses. I scarcely know any one who cannot do all this, and I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being informed that she was very accomplished." --Chapter 8 of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

If you are familiar with the BBC/A&E production of Pride and Prejudice, you may have wondered what the Bennet sisters were doing with a number of pieces of rolled paper spread over the table in one scene. One genteel pastime for young ladies in the late 18th and the first part of the 19th century was decorating objects with rolled paper. At the time, undecorated wooden frames were sold for this purpose. Ladies then decorated the object with pieces of paper rolled and cut into different patterns. After being rolled up, the papers were cut in short lengths and glued to the wooden frame in a filigree pattern. The project might be finished by painting and gilding. Sometimes a focal point was created using a watercolour or print. Objects decorated in this way might include mirror frames, jewel boxes, tea caddies, and even a screen.



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