Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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French shell marble

A marble pattern developed in the latter part of the 18th century. and particularly identified with France. The pattern is formed by adding oil to the color, which then instead of spreading evenly, forms in drops with an outer circle or "shell" of a lighter shade. Brown and orange as the vein colors and a French (body) color of blue seem to have been the most frequently used colors. Shell papers are commonly found as endpapers of calf- and half-bindings of the early 19th century. Later, when the art of marbling deteriorated, the shell pattern was executed on very thin paper of poor quality and used for cheap trade bindings. The pattern was a popular for marbling the edges of books. (217 , 236 )

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