Willem Floor & Amelie Couvrat Desvergnes, Mage Publishers, 2022.

The black and white hardcopy is available here

The kindle full colour version is available on amazon here

This book is the result of Willem Floor’s historical and textual expertise and my technical and artistic knowledge. When I was working on Qajar works on paper and manuscripts, I often wondered about the materials used, such as paper, ink, and pigments. Like many other countries, 19th-century Iran underwent profound sociological, cultural, and technological changes. The Shahs, eager to open their country to modernity while preserving traditions, allowed Iran to become a commercial and diplomatic playground for European leaders and investors. Through historical accounts, trade reports, recent studies, and above all through numerous concrete examples such as archival documents, paintings, manuscripts, prints, and other paper objects, the book shows that despite vain attempts to modernize the industry, local and handmade papers could not cope with the invasion of Russian and European products on the Iranian market. Industrialization was slow and difficult and was done at the expense of traditional techniques, materials and know-how.

The book is illustrated with objects from the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar; the Special Collections of the Leiden University Library; the Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden; the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; the Nationaal Archief, The Hague; the Harvard Art Museums; the David Collection, Copenhagen; the Musée du Louvre; the Bibliothèque Nationale de France; the UPM, Kymmene Finland; and with the kind permission of Chiswick Auction House and Christies London.

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