Bristol board

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MFA Acc. #: 57.290


A high quality, stiff, glazed, white cardboard. Bristol board is supercalendered to produced a smooth surface. Originally made in England around 1800, Bristol boards, or Bristol papers, were name for the Earl of Bristol who was associated with visiting cards and the fine arts. Early papers were often made by local stationers. Bristol boards are now categorized into three main classes: printing bristols, index bristols, and wedding bristols. Printing bristols have a stiff, printable surface. They are used for advertising, posters, displays as well as pen and ink drawings and paintings. The U.S. Patent Office requires trademark and patent images be drawn on Bristol board. Index bristols also accept printing and writing well and are extremely erasable. They are used as booklet covers, file cards, postcards, and menus. Wedding bristols are made with decorative finishes, such as vellum or antique plate.

Synonyms and Related Terms

bristol (Fr.); Bristol paper; cardboard

Additional Information

J.Krill, English Artists Paper, Trefoil Publications, London, 1987, p. 139-140.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Boise Cascade Paper Group, The Paper Handbook, Boise Cascade, Portland OR, 1989
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969
  • Silvie Turner, Which Paper?, Design Press, New York, 1991
  • Roy Perkinson, contributed information, 1998
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 583