UT Library calendar 2021 presents beautiful patterns of marbled paper


The UT Library calendar for 2021 shows examples of marbled paper, made with the marbling technique, which has already for centuries been used to decorate books.

“The marbled papers used in book binding can sometimes even be called pieces of art – featuring exquisite colour combinations created with a skilful technique,” said one of the compilers of the calendar, Tiia Nurmsalu from the UT Library Department of Preservation and Conservation.  It was quite difficult to choose the patterns for the calendar, as the UT Library collections hold many books which are decorated with marbled paper. “When selecting the patterns, we tried to show as many different techniques used in making this paper as possible. And naturally, we tried to match the patterns with the mood and feeling of the calendar months,” Nurmsalu added.

Marble stone patterns have inspired people to decorate their buildings and use them in interior design already from ancient times. The technique of paper marbling was first used in Japan in the 12th century. Spanish people introduced the technique in Europe. For centuries, marbled paper was mostly used in the art of book binding, where it became a very suitable material for book covers, replacing the expensive leather and parchment. The initially hand-made marbled paper became an object of a mass production in the first half of the 19th century. 

The calendar shows different patterns of marbled paper – feather, peacock, bouquet, vein, stone and fantasy patterns, taken from the 18-19th century books. Backsides of the calendar pages give some short information about the books in the UT Library collections, where the patterns originate from.  

The calendar was compiled by Kadri Tammur and Tiia Nurmsalu, edited by Kaspar Kolk and designed by Lilian Mengel. English translations were made by Sulo Lembinen and the books were photographed by Andres Tennus.

UT Library calendar 2021 can be bought at the UT Library Information Point and at the UT Library e-shop, the UT e-shop, the UT Museum, the UT Natural History Museum and the Krisostomus bookshop.


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