Papier-Mache - (Furniture Materials)

Papier-Mâché - (Furniture, Materials) French name (=chewed paper) for an English invention. In 1772 Henry Clay of Birmingham patented his process for making `paper ware' from linen rags. A cheaper method of making `papier-mâché Japanese furniture' from rag pulp was patented by Richard Brindley, also of Birmingham, in 1836. Not till the 1860's were both types of furniture known as `papier-mâché'. Clay's ware, handmade, is lighter, perfectly smooth, very tough; Brindley's pressed ware tends to be brittle, and because of this perfect examples are rare. Decoration: the gold is leaf or powder, not paint; pearl shell dates from the 1820's; oil painting from the 30's.

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