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Decorated paper collection

Identifier: UBA641

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of hundreds of individual sheets of various types of decorated paper, such as marbled paper, sprinkled papers, paste paper, block printed paper, bronze varnish paper, brocade paper, batiked paper and lithographed paper. The papers date for the greater part from the end of the eighteenth to the middle of the twentieth century. Although largely anonymous, the makers of a few of the decorated papers are known. The collection includes marbled papers by S.H. de Roos (1877-1962), Jan Mensing (1869-1952), Frits van den Berghe (1883-1939) and the English firm of Cockerell, paste papers by Joh. B. Smits (1874-1944), eighteenth-century brocade paper by the Munck family and Max Leonhard Kauffman from Augsburg, and by Paul Reinard from Nuremberg. There is lithographed decorated paper by Georg Rueter (1875-1966), which was sold in the industrial art gallery Het Klokhuis in Amsterdam which was run by Marie Faddegon and Leonie van Nierop. The collection furthermore includes a number of specimen books by decorated paper manufacturers and a volume by Émile Joseph Labarre bringing together marbled paper fragments. As the collection is made up of materials deriving from several collections, it is impossible to define a distinct collecting policy.


  • ca. 1750-ca. 1970
  • Majority of material found within ca. 1800-ca. 1970


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

When consulting the material the Regulations for users of the Library of the University of Amsterdam applies. Reproductions and fees for reproduction rights in accordance with the Pricelist for services rendered by the Library of the University of Amsterdam.

The material in this collection is only available for perusal.

Biographical / Historical

The Bibliotheek van de Koninklijke Vereniging van het Boekenvak (Library of the Royal Association for the Book Trade, KVB) was founded in 1845 as a specialist library for members of the Vereeniging ter bevordering van de belangen des Boekhandels. Later the collecting policy was expanded to include the documentation of the history of the Dutch book trade. A small part of the collection concerns decorated papers.

In December 1910 S.H. de Roos (1877-1962) took the initiative to establish the Typografische Bibliotheek van Lettergieterij ‘Amsterdam’ (voorheen N. Tetterode), which opened its doors towards the end of 1913. The library contains materials on the history of books, letter design, graphic design and paper ranging from the period c.1450 to c.1970. De Roos was the library’s first librarian.

The paper historian Émile Joseph Labarre (1883 –1965) collected an extensive library on the history of paper and watermarks to serve his academic publications, including A Dictionary of Paper and Paper-making Terms (1937). He was also the editor of Monumenta Chartae Papyraceae Historiam Illustrantia, a series published by the ‘Paper Publications Society’ which he had founded in 1950. In addition to being a specialist library, Labarre’s collection contains a selection of paper specimens, watermark papers and decorated papers.


8 meters

Language of Materials

No linguistic content; Not applicable

Abstract in English

The collection comprises the decorated papers deriving from the Tetterode Collection, the Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak and the E.J. Labarre Collection. It consists of hundreds of individual sheets representing a range of techniques, largely dating from the late eighteenth century until the middle of the twentieth. The makers of some of the decorated papers are known. The collection also contains a number of paper specimen books by decorated paper manufacturers.

Abstract in Dutch

In de collectie zijn de sierpapieren uit de Collectie Tetterode, de Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak en de Collectie E.J. Labarre bijeengebracht. Ze bestaat uit honderden losse vellen van verschillende soorten technieken, voor het merendeel uit de periode eind achttiende eeuw tot midden twintigste eeuw. Van enkele sierpapieren is de maker bekend. Daarnaast bevat de collectie een aantal papiermonsterboeken van sierpapierfabrikanten.


The collection has been organized on the basis of technique following the classification in: Susanne Krause and Julia Rinck in collaboration with Henk Porck, Frieder Schmidt and Isa Schrijver, Buntpapier : Ein Bestimmungsbuch = Decorated paper : a guide book = Sierpapier : een gids. 2nd revised and enlarged edition, Suttgart, 2016, furthermore on the basis of format and, if known, country of origin and maker or publisher.

Physical Location

Allard Pierson, University of Amsterdam

Custodial History

The decorated papers derive from the collection of the Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak, the Tetterode Collection and the Labarre Collection. The provenance of the individual decorated papers is difficult to trace, but most of them likely stem from the Tetterode Collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The basis for the collection was laid when the Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak was acquired. In 1958 this library was offered on semi-permanent loan to the University Library Amsterdam. In 2006 the entire library passed into the ownership of the Stichting Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak. Decorated papers are part of the library.

In 1971 the Tetterode Collection was purchased by the University Library Amsterdam. The majority of the decorated papers probably derives from this collection. Archival materials, including the working archive of S.H. de Roos at the time he worked for Lettergieterij ‘Amsterdam’, were part of the acquisition. De Roos had worked as an industrial artist and also collected and manufactured decorated papers himself. He was on friendly terms with the industrial artist and painter Georg Rueter, some of whose lithographed decorated papers are to be found in the collection.

The acquisition of the paper-historical collection of Émile Joseph Labarre helped to expand the decorated paper collection. After his death in 1965 the University Library Amsterdam purchased the collection from his heirs in 1972.


The collection contains rare materials and is valuable for the research into the history of Dutch industrial art and design.


No additions are expected.

Related Materials

Occasionally materials are acquired that are related to the decorated papers collection. An example is an artist’s portfolio in book form. These are separately described in the Catalogue of the University of Amsterdam.

Decorated papers are of course also to be found in the Allard Pierson collection as applied art. From the eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, they were regularly used as endpapers in books, or as covers of, for example, dissertations and epithalamia. Many of the descriptions of books printed before 1800 in the Catalogue of the University ofan Amsterdam have been supplied with keywords, from the general keyword ‘decorated paper’ to the names for the specific type of decorated paper, as for instance ‘comb marbling’.

Publications by artists such as the paper marbler Karli Frigge or the designers of Curwen Press end papers have also been separately described in the Catalogue of the University of Amsterdam.

The KB | National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam manage extensive decorated paper collections in the Netherlands.

The CODA Archief en Kenniscentrum (archive and information centre) in Apeldoorn manages the collection of the Stichting Papiergeschiedenis Nederland (Dutch foundation for paper history).

Separated Materials

The collections from which the decorated papers were taken are described separately: Collectie Tetterode, Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak and Collectie E.J. Labarre

The Allard Pierson holds a large collection of paper specimens deriving from the same collections as the decorated papers: Collectie Tetterode, Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak and Collectie E.J. Labarre

The archive of the Paper Publications Society founded by Labarre has also been deposited with the Allard Pierson.


  • Catalogus der bibliotheek van de Vereeniging ter bevordering van de belangen des Boekhandels te Amsterdam, deel IV, p. 540-545. 's-Gravenhage, 1934.
  • Elly Cockx-Indestege et al., Sierpapier & marmering : een terminologie voor het beschrijven van sierpapier en marmering als boekbandversiering. Brussels, The Hague, 1994.
  • Marjan Groot, Vrouwen in de vormgeving in Nederland 1880-1940. Rotterdam, 2007.
  • J.F. Heijbroek, T.C. Greven, Sierpapier: marmer-, brocaat- en sitspapier in Nederland. Amsterdam, 1994.
  • Susanne Krause and Julia Rinck in collaboration with Henk Porck, Frieder Schmidt and Ida Schrijver, Buntpapier : ein Bestimmungsbuch = Decorated paper : a guide book = Sierpapier : een gids. 2nd revised and enlarged edition. Stuttgart, 2016.
  • Vincent Loosjes, Geschiedenis van de Vereeniging ter bevordering van de belangen des Boekhandels 1815-1915. Amsterdam, 1915.
  • G.W. Ovink, Honderd jaren lettergieterij in Amsterdam. Amsterdam, [1951].
  • [G.W. Ovink], “University Library of Amsterdam acquires "Typografische Bibliotheek"”. In: Quaerendo 2 (1972), no. 1 (January), p. 77-78.
  • Koosje Sierman. “Scherven en snippers. De documentaire nalatenschap van S.H. de Roos (1877-1962)”. In: De boekenwereld 4 (1987-1988), no. 4, p. 149-152.
  • A.C. Schuytvlot, Papier in de U.B.A. Catalogus bij de tentoonstelling ingericht ter gelegenheid van de zeventigste verjaardag van Mevr. B.J. van Ginneken-Van de Kasteele, van 1965 tot en met 1979 conservatrice van de papierhistorische Labarre-Collection in de Amsterdamse Universiteitsbibliotheek. Amsterdam, 1984.
  • Universiteitsbibliotheek Amsterdam, Zeldzame en Kostbare Werken. Een punt voor typografie. De Typografische Bibliotheek in de Universiteitsbibliotheek Amsterdam. [Amsterdam, 2001].

Processing Information

The collection has been organized, described and passively conserved as part of a project by students of the University of Amsterdam post-master’s programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage - book and paper. An inventory of the collection has been made and will soon become available online.

Inventory of the Decorated paper collection (ca. 1750-ca. 1970)
Gwendolyn Verbraak, translated by Cis van Heertum
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Allard Pierson Repository

Oude Turfmarkt 127-129
Amsterdam 1012 GC Nederland