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Re: Inks



On Thu, 18 Nov 1999, Peter Fraterdeus wrote:
> >At any rate medieval inks (made from ferrous sulphate and tannin), are
> Of course, those are the ones that ate through the vellum, leaving nothing but spaces where the letter used to be! I recommend the chinese carbon based inkstick with water and a bit of gum arabic, if required (only if the dried ink smudges on the page)...

Peter, I can recall seeing a few post-medieval *paper* pages damaged by
some kind of acid-based ink - I can't recall any vellum pages so damaged,
and I don't see much likelihood of that happening, though I'll make
a note to check Stiennon and such next time I'm at the library.

Contrariwise, the "Society of Scribes and Illuminators-approved" method
that you recommend is not only likely to let the ink flake off, it's also
cumbersome for writing. You may want to check my book on Vellum
Preparation, which has a well-documented discussion thereof.

> The garlic juice is a variation on gum ammoniac, used on a flat surface
> and to good effect, but never to the true exaltation of the gold that
> the plaster gesso achieves.

Hardly. Garlic juice was used as early as the ninth century in Europe, gum
ammoniac did'nt come into use there until the twelfth; and they have
little in common anyhow.

As for the lead-based recipe: yes, it is used a lot after the eleventh
century or so. But, as I wrote over fifteen years ago, the medieval
techniques have far too little in common with the ones propagated by the
SS&I and its epigones, here and abroad. It's bad enough to use dangerous
materials; using them incorrectly is worse; using them inappropriately, as
we both agree, is pointless.

***************************************************************************
Paul Werner, New York City
http://pages.nyu.edu/~ptw1
     DRAGONSBLOOD AND ASHES: a project to research and teach the
techniques of the Medieval scribe and artist.
     THE ORANGE PRESS: most recent titles: "Vellum Preparation:
History and Technique," and "Dragonsblood and Ashes: the Beta
Version."
     WOID: a journal of visual language in New York, including reviews,
listings and resources.

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