Chancery Paper

Paper historian Neil Harris suggests that Chancery, or a similarly sized sheet, accounted for 90% of the paper produced after 1500 in Europe.  There are a number of reasons why this makes sense from the papermaker’s standpoint: 

  • The full sheet folded in half gives an agreeable folio size book; and folded again, a normal quarto book. 
  • The cost of equipment and the need for space for making these smaller sheets was less than for larger sheets. 
  • Sizing, drying and flattening smaller sheets was easier, and finally,
  • teaching younger artisans the trade would be more expedient when making Chancery dimension papers. 

Our own research interests are currently focused on making paper at historical production rates, loft drying, and evaluating the impact of both on the aesthetic properties of the finished sheets.

At the present time we are utilizing two raw fibers: textile quality cotton grown in America, and textile quality hemp grown in China.  Both fibers have been mechanically cleaned and to the best of our knowledge have not been subjected to any chemical processes such as bleaching.  Following cutting to a 1.5-2 mm length we typically ferment the fiber in a 0.1% lime (calcium magnesium hydroxide) solution for about 12 weeks, cook in a 0.4% lime solution, and wash during beating. To see these papers in production and for additional details visit

Chancery Paper Pricing

  • Prices shown below are per sheet, waterleaf (unsized).  Recommended for letterpress printing.
  • For gelatin sizing or burnishing add $1 to the 1-99 sheet price shown below. Please consult with us regarding the degree of gelatin sizing needed. Broke sheets are generally not available with gelatin sizing or burnishing. 
  • Quantity orders are permitted through the UICB however they are allowed only by contract with established printers, calligraphers, and other professionals and are strictly for in house use. Resale is not permitted except by TALAS.
  • All pricing subject to availability. We reserve the right to ration relative to demand.
  • Our Chancery mould deckle measures 12.5 by 18 inches but sheet size after drying is approximately 12.25 by 17.5 inches.
Unbleached textile quality 50% Hemp 50% Cotton (BHC), 20% Hemp 80% Cotton (BHC20/80), or 100% Cotton (BC)
500 ream*$4.00$3.00$2.00

*Purchases in excess of 500 sheets must be made in 100 sheet packages and/or additional reams in order to retain the ream pricing.

  • Firsts show good formation throughout the sheet and are free of significant knots or other imperfections.
  • Seconds are serviceable for letterpress printing and contain no inclusions that might be harmful to type over 80% or more of the sheet. Seconds may show less even overall formation quality. Some culling may be required depending on the planned end use.
  • Broke sheets usually have problems with poor formation quality, improper couching, knots, creasing and other imperfections.  They are intended mainly for use in dummy text blocks for binding models, or other applications such as collage work where the appearance of the sheet in transmitted light is not a concern. Culling can yield a range of useful sheets depending on the intended end use.
  • A tube containing four full size sample sheets is available for $20, packing and FedEx shipping included.  We will select representative examples of at least one  first, second, and broke quality sheet and be sure a BHC, BHC 20-80, and BC sheet, as well as one sized sheet is included in the mix. We will also take care to include in the four sheet sample set, at least one each of our standard lightweight, regular weight and heavyweight papers.

Table of Approximate Chancery Paper Weights and Thickness

Paper Weight


Thickness in inches

Thickness in millimeters





Regular Weight








 *Grams per square meter 


Please note that TALAS sometimes has Chancery and/or our Japanese-style sheets available.  All orders less than $100 must be made through TALAS per our agreement with them.  Either TALAS or the UICB may be contacted for orders of $100 or more. To place an order or for more information email An invoice will be included with your shipment and may be paid by check, Mastercard, or Visa. Note that 6% sales tax will be added to orders shipped to addresses in Iowa. International orders may be paid by international money order or credit card and may require a 50% deposit.

Handmade Papers