Decorated Paper - Recognizing, Classifying and Manufacturing

28th – 30th Oct. 2013, Horn, Austria

 Mag. Ilse Mühlbacher

Course Description

This workshop, consisting of an introductory PowerPoint-supported lecture as well as practical exercises, addresses librarians and people working in libraries, museums and archives who are interested in the assessment and documentation of decorated paper. The workshop will cover the history and development of decorated paper, their application in the field of bookmaking, a review and detailed description of manufacturing techniques, as well as methods to identify the various techniques.

The history of decorated paper is closely connected to the invention of paper itself and goes back to the early part of the 15th century. At that time, a great number of manufacturing techniques were devised, which, in combination with each other, brought forth a great variety of decorations, patterns and design possibilities.

A multitude of decorated paper can be found in libraries and archives, mostly in the form of book covers and book end papers; however, decorated paper was also used to inlay chests, cabinets, and musical instruments and can be found in collections. The first collections of decorated paper originate at the end of the 19th century and are very helpful as a guide for the purpose of classification. The complexity facing the proper documentation of decorated paper lies in the great diversity of manufacturing techniques and the judgment necessary to correctly identify and denominate them.

In the workshop, a review of the history of decorated paper and its manufacturing techniques will be followed by a discussion of selected examples that highlight the problems surrounding the identification of decorated paper as well as the options available for doing so, focusing both on the difficulties pertaining to correct dating and on the relevant terminology. A number of processed and unprocessed specimens will first be presented to illustrate an academically founded classification system; subsequently, books, papers, folders or other pertinent objects brought by the participants can be discussed, identified and described.



Definition of decorated paper

Decorated paper in books: book covers and end papers

History of decorated paper

Manufacturing through the ages


Pattern collection

Differences in techniques

Documentation and description


Manufacture of hand decorated paper:

Brush paper

Paste paper in different variations

Dribbeled paper

Sprinkled paper

Marbeled paper


Mag. Ilse Mühlbacher graduated from Vienna University of Applied Arts (Script design) and from University of Fine Arts Vienna (art teacher).

She is recently working at the Austrian National Library and a well know specialist on decorated paper.


Accomodation and More

Accommodation during the course is either within the building (guesthouse) or in a close hotel (hotel conditions) and is included in the price. The guesthouse offers a kitchen where participants can prepare own meals and the close connection to the venue is of advantage, but there is no TV and no telephone in the rooms. The hotel is 5 minutes to walk from the venue, but provides all facilities a hotel normally got.

In case you wish for a hotel room, please contact Mrs. Wieland immediately after your registration: wieland(at) (

For any questions concerning invoices or financial affairs also Mrs. Wieland is happy to assist you.

The course fee including nights from 28
th to 30th Sept 2013 in the guesthouse costs 380,00 Euros plus 10% VAT.

After application you will be provided with further information.