Dutch Pearl Design

If you take a look at photographs Dutch life in the early 1900s, probably your first thought isn’t “Wow, pretty modern!” Clothing looks heavy and uncomfortable, horses are still in use for everyday transportation, and daily activity looks very unlike our sterile digital lives.


market scene amsterdam circa 1900

Market scene in Amsterdam circa 1900.

This is only part of the picture. When we ask people to date the design which inspired our Dutch Pearls on a String design, responses are usually around the middle of the 20th Century. In fact, this design comes from over a century ago on a paper used as endpapers in a 1908 Amsterdam binding. The compelling simplicity of the design shows how the design world was transforming from very ornate Victorian designs to design which is more open and fluid. The binding on which this paper is found still exhibits the 19th Century ornate approach to design, causing some tension between the binding and the endpapers.



The ornate binding from the 19th Century, containing the Dutch Pearl design as endpapers.


Endpapers with the Dutch Pearl design, circa 1900.

This combination is probably the result of the bindery still having a large stock of brass dies that could be used on bindings, while the paper would have been sourced from another company, which was producing more current designs.


dutch design pearls circa 1900

A detailed shot of the interior endpapers.

A collection of the newly printed designs, for use as notebook covers. We've enlarged the design
slightly to make it less diminutive and to give it more immediacy.



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