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Schmoller Collection

The Schmoller Collection of Decorated Papers is the culmination of a lifelong pursuit by collectors Hans and Tanya Schmoller. Hans Schmoller (1916-1985) was a renowned typographer and was Production Manager, and later Director at Penguin Books.

It was his and Tanya's passion for design and pattern that led to the accumulation of a body of work which represents the best of twentieth century Western decorated book papers.

Currently viewing:
Marbled paper

© Estate of Tirzah Ravilious

The collection comprises mainly European and American papers, used for book covers and endpapers, many of which are handmade. It is one of only three comparable public collections in the country and is the only one outside London. One of its major strengths is the large number of sample books which are a great aid to identification and research.

The techniques covered are woodblock and linocut printing, marbling, paste papers, air brushed papers, batik (emanating from Germany in the 1930s) and other miscellaneous methods.

The British-made papers include designs by artists such as Eric Ravilious, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Enid Marx, who produced repeat patterns for the Curwen Press; marbled papers by Sydney Cockerell; the less well known but beautifully delicate oil marbled papers by Tirzah Garwood Ravilious, as well as papers by contemporary artists such as John Piper.

There is an extensive collection of printed Sylvia papers and those produced by the Fancy Paper Co., much used as endpapers for diaries in the early twentieth century.

The continental papers are represented by examples from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Turkey, the historic home of marbling. The American examples are strong in paste papers. Much of the collection is devoted to Italian block-printed papers, such as those produced by the firm of Rizzi in Varese, using old woodblocks from the Remondini enterprise, and several other makers from Florence and Venice.

The collection is supported by extensive archival material in the form of correspondence and original writings by Hans and Tanya Schmoller, much of which is aimed at identifying designers who were frequently deemed not worthy of mention.

Contact the Schmoller Collection

Access to the collection is by appointment, on a weekday basis Monday - Friday 10.00 - 16.00

It is open for private research by staff, students and external visitors

Phone: +44 (0)161 247 6107


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