Quilling History

Quilling History

For some time I was searching for nice articles about quilling history. It’s not easy to find something different from the Wikipedias definition, but here you have a collection of articles I liked and I found interesting:

Quilling History
George III Paper Scroll Tea Caddy


1. The history of paper filigree or paper Quilling is difficult to pin down. Though speculation abounds about the earliest paper quillers and their materials, there is little definitive evidence. Knowing the creativeness of human nature, it seems likely that the art of rolling, folding, crimping and shaping paper strips would occur fairly quickly after the invention of paper. Because precious metals were already used to create intricate metal filigree, it is reasonable that some creative mind would apply similar techniques to paper. But fire and moisture are enemies for paper, and the dampness of early dwellings was not kind to early paper filigree work. The earliest piece of preserved paper filigree pictured by my sources (Florian Papp and Christy/Tracy ) was created in the 1600’s, but Christy/Tracy also noted references to pre-17th century work given in books written in the 1800’s. Read the full story.

Quilling History
King George III quilled cabinet

2.  Quillwork, paper filigree, rolled paper, paper mosaic. These are some of the many terms that have been used to describe the art of rolling thin strips of paper into intricate designs which were used as decoration on tea caddies, fire screens, framed pictures, and small pieces of furniture. The inspiration for this work was gold and silver wire filigree. Paper cut into thin strips (about 1/8” wide) with gilded edges was an excellent imitation of this intricate art. Read the full story.

Quilling History
Quilled Fire Screen made by Princess Elizabeth (1770-1840)

3. The popularity of Quilling has fluctuated. Work of high quality was achieved by French and Italian nuns in the 16th and 17th centuries; genteel ladies in the Stuart period; ladies of leisure in the Georgian and Regency periods – and it is currently enjoying a modern revival. It also spread to North America with the settlers. Those of us who quill today find we have something in common with Elizabeth, daughter of George III, Joseph Bramah (the famous locksmith), Mrs Delany (pioneer of other paperwork and friend of Jonathan Swift), Jane Austen (who mentions it in her novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’) and the Bronte sisters: quite a distinguished gathering of enthusiasts! Read the full story

quilling history
Antique French Paper Filigree Reliquary

4.  Rolledpaper work, filigree work, or as it is now known, quilling, was a popular pastime for accomplished young ladies in the late 18th/early 19th centuries. The first known forms of this type of decoration, which is made by decorating items with many, many rolled and pinched or crimped  pieces of paper, set in pleasing patterns, date from the 15th and 16th centuries.Predominantly using gold and silver covered paper, filigree work was then used to decorate items with religious significance- pictures of saints etc.- however, shortly after the Reformation in England,when “idolatrous” objects were discouraged, the practice died out. In the mid 17th century the art was revised in England ,and was often used in conjunction with stump work embroidery  to decorate mirrors and caskets. In the 18th century it became a popular pastime for young ladies. Most were content to work on small pieces, as in Annamaria’s basket, and pieces like this tea caddy dating from about 1800. Read the full story




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