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Re: handmade ink, quills



The best single source of recipes on early inks, not only from Europe but also
the middle- and far east, is Les encres noires au moyen age (jusqu'a 1600) by
Monique Zerdoun Bat-Yehouda. Editions du CNRS, 1983. ISBN 2-222-02972-4. The
text is in French but the ink recipes are given in the original languages of
Latin, Greek, Hebrew. The Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese recipes are given in
French only. In addition to a brilliant introduction on the history of ink,
and 18 b & w plates, there is a list of manuscripts containing ink recipes, an
appendix on substances mentioned in the recipes, and a 28 page bibliography of
books & articles on the subject in all major languages. Alas, it's probably
out of print, but worth looking for in a good research library. In the midwest
a copy can be found in the Newberry Library.

For quills, any decent writing manual published between 1525 & 1830 will give
you instructions on cutting quills (the technique remained pretty constant),
but a more readily available source is the illustrated chapter on cutting
quills and reeds in The Calligrapher's Handbook, A & C Black, London, 1985. I
believe it was published in the U.S. by Taplinger.

R. Williams


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