Large Oval Late 19th Century Papier-Mâché Tray.

REF: 5698

Large Oval Late 19th Century Papier-Mâché Tray.

REF: 5698

A large, oval papier-mâché tray, black lacquered background with very well executed and complex gilded scroll work.

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  • Height 78.74 cm / 31 332"
  • Width 63.5 cm / 25 332"
  • Depth 2.5 cm / 1 332"

Category

  • Period 1850-1899
  • Year c. 1890
  • Country England
  • Provenance Starting around 1725 in Europe, gilded papier-mâché began to appear as a low-cost alternative to similarly treated plaster or carved wood in architecture. Henry Clay of Birmingham, England, patented a process for treating laminated sheets of paper with linseed oil to produce waterproof panels in 1772. These sheets were used for building coach door panels, amongst other structural uses. Theodore Jennens patented a process in 1847 for steaming and pressing these laminated sheets into various shapes, which were then used to manufacture trays, chair backs, and structural panels, usually laid over a wood or metal armature for strength. The papier-mâché was smoothed and lacquered, or finished with a pearl shell finish. The industry lasted through the 19th century. Russia had a thriving industry in ornamental papier-mâché. A large assortment of painted Russian papier-mâché items appear in a Tiffany & Co. catalog from 1893. Martin Travers the English ecclesiastical designer made much use of papier mache for his church furnishings in the 1930s.