Coated paper

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Japanese postcard
MFA# 2002.1635


Drawing on coated paper
MFA# 53.488

A paper coated on one or both sides with a mixture of a binder and pigment. The coating provides a smooth, enamel -like surface for writing and printing. A type of coated paper was used as early as 450 CE in China. Uniform machine-made coated papers have been used for over 100 years to provide optimum surfaces for printing. Some of the white pigments used in the coatings are: Barium sulfate, Calcium carbonate, Calcium sulfate, Calcium sulfite, Clay, Diatomaceous earth, Lead white, Satin white, Talc, Zinc sulfide, Lithopone, Zinc oxide, and Titanium dioxide. Over the years, the binders have changed from the early use of Starch to include the use of Linseed oil, gums, glues, and waxes. Recently synthetic resins such as Polyvinyl acetate, acrylic, and styrene-butadiene. The coatings are often burnished or calendered to produce a glossy finish.

Synonyms and Related Terms

enamel paper; burnished paper; clay coated paper; kundstdrukpapier (Ned.); papier couché (Fr.); Kunstdruckpapier (Deut.); carta patinata (It.); papel cuché (Esp.); papel estucado (Esp.); konsttryck paper (Sven.)


  • May stick together when wet.

Resources and Citations

  • D.van Der Reyden, E.Mosier, M.Baker "Pigment-Coated Papers I: History and Technology" ICOM Preprints Washington DC, 1993, pp. 491-498.
  • Boise Cascade Paper Group, The Paper Handbook, Boise Cascade, Portland OR, 1989
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969 Comment: found as early as 1857
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • Silvie Turner, Which Paper?, Design Press, New York, 1991
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986

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