Paper and Watermarks as Bibliographical Evidence

This text is a bibliographical guide to texts and images relating to the history of paper and papermaking, mainly comprising the hand-papermaking period. Mechanical papermaking, beginning with the invention of the Foudrinier machine at the beginning of the Nineteenth century is briefly, but not exhaustively, treated. Its original purpose was to be included in the workbook of the eponymous course delivered at the École of the Institut d’histoire du livre in Lyon in 2009, and again in 2010, after which a “first edition” was published on the site of the IHL in the latter year.

In its conception and execution, it was intended as a sister, or possibly daughter, text to the older, and much more respectable: Analytical Bibliography. The Alternative Prospectus, written to accompany the IHL course on material bibliography and first published on their site in 2002, with revised versions in 2004 and 2006. For all practical purposes, it shares the purpose of the earlier work in being intended for a readership of bibliographers, and possibly even book historians, or anyone seeking ways of obtaining evidence from paper. Just a hint: it isn’t easy!

In 2015 the return of a course on paper to Lyon suggested that the time was ripe for a “revised second edition”. Work began, but the author spent over much time fiddling and finding things out, and redoing previous research, so that this new version appears only in February 2017, through the good offices and patience of the IHL. To justify the wait, it ought to be pointed out that, whereas the first edition was comprised in about 70 pages, the present one amounts to over 160 and, for the first time, introduces illustrations. Given this same critical mass, to make genuine reading simpler, the whole text has been also set up in book form, as a pdf available for download (coming soon!). 

Paper and watermarks as bibliographical evidence/Enjeux et méthodes de l'étude du papier et des filigranes en bibliographie matérielle. Texte écrit pour le cours du même nom animé par Neil Harris, en 2009, 2010 et 2015 dans le cadre de l'Ecole de l’Institut d’histoire du livre, Lyon.
Ce texte a été mis à jour en février 2017 par Neil Harris et sera bientôt intégralement disponible sur ce site, avec une version téléchargeable en PDF.