Handmade paper Enrico Magnani Pescia

CULTURE

Handmade paper Enrico Magnani Pescia

Deirdre Pirro

August 5, 2021 – 9:47

Write it down in your calendar today so you don’t miss this unique upcoming event. Of From September 16 to 19, the 27th edition of the Artigianato e Palazzo exhibition will be held at the Corsini Palace in Florence. It is an important annual occasion in the Florence calendar. “The new concept of our exhibition, explains Sabina Corsini, president of the Associazione Giardino Corsini, and Neri Torrigiani, creator and organizer of the event, stems from the need to offer our visitors a place to remind them how, at Over time, artisans and their workshops have flourished around the Palazzo, a place that has become a showcase and a testing ground for experimentation. Around 80 artisans will present their craft in a new configuration that winds between the palace, the garden and the lemon trees, including private rooms on the ground floor that have never been accessible to the public before.

A stroll around the main exhibit in the ballroom will be the highlight of the four-day event. Enrico Magnani Pescia. The art of handmade paper since 1481 will present a selection of historical watermarked paper molds typically kept at the Pescia Paper Museum, as well as important archival documents from the collection of 7,000 pieces dating back to the 15th century, including the paper apron created by Magnani in 1812, which features portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, for the couple’s wedding celebrations.

Life at the stationery will be recreated in a special section, where visitors can witness the different phases of manufacturing by watching a master papermaker as he makes the paper by hand, watching a watermark at work and learning about the technique of sewing a watermark on the paper mold, using a special sewing machine. Finally, a calligrapher will give handwriting demonstrations and Accademia Italiana Galateo (Italian Academy of Etiquette) will present Mail label, created in collaboration with Magnani.

Paper museum in Pescia

The Magnani family had been in Emilia since the 1200s and, through successive migrations, settled first in Liguria, then in Tuscany. They eventually settled in Pescia, where the family began to create fine paper, establishing themselves in global markets. The main museums of the world house examples of Magnani paper, such as letters from the Shelley brothers and Lord Byron, the Indian religious text Bhagavata Purana, a collection of drawings and prints made in Iran during the Qajar dynasty, and a large number of works from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, now kept in the Cabinet des Designs of Castello Sforzesco in Milan, as well as the documents of Giacomo Leopardi kept in the birthplace of the poet. Musicians like Giacomo Puccini, writers like Gabriele D’Annunzio and artists like Pablo Picasso and Pietro Annigoni, as well as many others, used personalized watermarked Magnani paper. The currencies of many countries followed suit to print their paper currencies and the securities industry adopted paper to print stocks, stocks, bonds and notes. Big names in food, banking, insurance, automotive, transport, energy, petrochemicals and metallurgy and even the fashion industry were also Magnani’s customers. .

During a recent visit to the Paper Museum, director Massimiliano Bini explained that the factory was historically “an encapsulated society” where workers lived and worked. The mill, originally known as Mugnani and later as Le Carte, covered a vast expanse of 3,200 meters, where the owners also provided living spaces for the mill workers and their families. In 2005, the Carrara family, related to the Magnani, bought the 18th century paper mill, which had been closed in 1992, and donated it to the Associazione Museo della Carta di Pescia ETS. Over the centuries, fathers passed on skills to their sons, some of whom had started their apprenticeship from seven years to only six years old. Weddings between resident families were common, with women and girls doing specific jobs, such as spreading sheets of paper in the sun and wind to dry them or sewing filigree watermarks. Secrecy about the procedures used in the factory was paramount, and signs warned workers that they would be immediately fired and prosecuted if they violated this iron rule. The organization within the mill was pyramidal. The owner of the mill was in his prime. Under him came the Minister of the Mill, who knew every step of the papermaking process and oversaw those under him, who were responsible for each individual step, such as sunsets, who pressed the newly made pieces of paper onto felt. Finally came the hardworking students.

A sheet of Enrico Magnani Pescia paper exclusively handmade from certified American cotton takes four days to complete thanks to operations that involve no environmental impact. One of the key elements of its quality is the abundance and absence of impurities in the water of the Pescia river. The name Pescia comes from the Lombard word for water. Today, the objective of the Magnani Pescia Social Entrepreneurship, born in 2020 in collaboration with the association Museo della Carta di Pescia Onlus Association, is to preserve and exploit the experience of master papermakers, watermarks and pickers now retired to train young people eager to learn the secrets of handmade papermaking. The idea is to safeguard and pass on skills and know-how to these new generations. Otherwise, this invaluable heritage risks being lost forever.

For more information on the Artigianato e Palazzo exhibition at Palazzo Corsini in Florence from September 16 to 19, click here.

Learn more about the Pescia Paper Museum here.


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