Papier Mache

Papier Mache has been in use around the world for centuries in China, Japan, Persia and  first began to be used in Europe and Britain in the 18th century.  A process of laminating paper and linseed oil into panels which were used in coaches was developed by Henry Clay in the late 18th century and in the 19th century a patent by Theodore Jennens for steaming and pressing papier mache into different shapes was recorded.  The papier mache made from pulped paper and glue could be shaped into many every day pieces then lacquered and decorated, trays, chairs, tables, boxes and ink stands to mention just a few.  Jennens went into partnership with Bettridge where they proceeded to manufacture high quality papier mache articles having taken over the workshop previously occupied by Henry Clay.  They traded from 1815-1864 and most of the pieces that they produced are stamped on the back “Jennens & Bettridge, first manufactured in Birmingham and then later in London.



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Papier Mache Tray

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Papier Mache Trinket Trays
















Above are two fine examples of Victorian papier mache ware – on the left a medium sized tray with a black lacquered finish and hand painted with flowers and then polished and in excellent condition – on the right a miniature pair of pin trays delicately made with a gilded edge.

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Pair of Regency bottle coasters

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The coasters with a pair of Victorian Spirit decanters
















Useful articles for use on a table are the Regency wine coasters hand decorated and gilded with a baize under side to protect polished surfaces of sideboards and dining tables.  Pairs of these are particularly sought after because, due to heavy use, most examples of these have been worn out and thrown away of the years.  However, this particular pair are in surprisingly good condition with only a tiny repair to a chip on the rim and some wear to the gilt detail.

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Fine lacquered wood and papier mache ink well stand

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Victorian faux walnut papier mache tray with a gilt boarder
















The Victorian ink well stand is constructed from wood, papier mache, glass and mother of pearl, the wooded platform has a papier mache box and lid mounted in the centre and the lid has a carved Mother of Pearl knob handle. The two cut glass inkwells have papier mache lids with gilt detail, the platform has indentations on both long sides into which pens and pencils can sit and the decoration depicts flowers with gilt detail.

The large tray has a wonderful false walnut grain – all hand painted to give the veneer affect and then a broad gilt decoration around the dished edge, the back of the tray is signed by the makers and has a Victorian kite registration mark for the 6th March 1875


Graham Smith Antiques has been established for 14 years but Graham has been in the antiques business for 40 years. We trade on line and from showrooms on the edge of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and all  the items shown on the website are available to view at the show rooms where they are set out in four room settings – for ease of viewing. As long time members of LAPADA [the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers], the UK’s largest trade association for professional art and antiques dealers, we want all our customers to be confident to buy from us on line or in person and make every effort to make each sale a pleasure.  Please take some time to read our Testimonials page which can be found on the home page of our website.



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