Marbling, once the reserve of antiquated booksellers and Venetian paper shops, has now hit the mainstream thanks to new advances in printing and imaging. Its organic patination and vivid colour contrasts make any surface interesting and luxurious.
Fabric from Designers Guild
Marbling is the art of creating colorful patterns by sprinkling and brushing colour pigments in a pan of oily or thinned water and then transferring this pattern to paper of fabric. It is believed to be invented in the thirteenth century Turkistan. This decorative art then spread to China, India and Persia and Anatolia. Seljuk and Ottoman calligraphers and artists used marbling to decorate books, imperial decrees, official correspondence and documents. New forms and techniques were perfected in the process and Turkey remained the center of marbling for many centuries until the 17th Century, when Italian paper merchants began producing papers for the European markets and Venice became the central hub of the marbled paper industry.
Porta Romana ‘Rocket’ lamp with marbled shade
Sadly, as few people write these days, marbling was disappearing as an art, but has thankfully been revived thanks to the popularity of digital printing and expanding tastes. Interiors often follow fashion, and Liberty recently had a very successful run of marbled print silk scarves. Anthropologie also released a set of marbled bedding and Porta Romana offer it as a light shade covering.
You can now buy almost any homeware with a marbled pattern (or try it yourself, it’s an easy DIY project for table clothes or napkins) For the bold, you could wallpaper a small room, such as a cloakroom or closet. Antique writing desks and bureaus were often lined with marbled paper, so lining the inside of your wardrobe or dresser would be a fabulous way to pay homage.
The lined interior of a dresser. Image from Pinterest. Origin Unknown
A kaleidoscope of colour in the bathroom. Image from Pinterest, origin unknown.
If you’d like to incorporate some more adventurous patterns and products into your home but feel you’d like some help from an expert, why not contact us at Kia Designs for a free consultation today!