Jennens & Bettridge were 19th century papier-mâché manufacturers at Birmingham in England. The firm produced objects like this writing slope. They ranged in size and complexity from boxes to beds and chairs to pianos that were displayed on their stand at the 1851 Great Exhibition at London. There is a legend a house made of papier mâche was shipped to Australia in pieces. Products were produced in sections by placing layers of paper, pasted on both sides, over moulds of the right shape. Women and girls carried out this part of the work. A cabinet-maker removed the final parts from moulds and assembled, filed and smoothed the object before layers of black and clear varnish, painted decoration and gilding were added. Before and after each layer of varnish or decoration the product was stove dried. Fittings like a handle were added before the final polish.
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.
The first stirring of what would become known as the China Trade began when Europe was still emerging from medievalism. Venetian traveller Marco Polo’s ‘Description of the World’ written in 1298 covered a surprisingly large part of it uniquely detailed from reputedly, first hand observation. From the Polar Sea to…