The art of decoupage has had many names over the years: lacche povero
(poor man’s lacquer) or lacca contrafada (simulated lacquer) by the Italians;
l'art ‘scriban (art of the desk) by the French; and japanning (lacquering) by the English.
The process was developed to imitate hand-painted Chinese and Japanese laquerware, which was then so popular in Europe. “Decoupage” is a word
adopted in the 20th century to describe the art of decorating surfaces permanently with paper cutouts.