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inks-msg - 6/25/09

 

Period and SCA inks for calligraphy.

 

NOTE: See also the files: quills-msg, iwandpc-msg, parchment-msg, paper-msg, gold-leaf-msg, calligraphy-msg, callig-suppl-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Period Black Ink/Dye

Date: 8 Mar 94 15:43:41

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.

 

Mistress Gwennis passed me a recipe for black ink which I tried out

last weekend at a craft session. It worked so well I thought someone

else out there might like to try it. She got the recipe from a Dover

translation of a medieval text by Cenini (sp?)

 

We took a cup of oak galls and a cup of water, then added a teaspoon

of iron salts (ferrous sulphate). To make writing ink add a few

spoonfulls of gum arabic (I'm told that arrowroot would work as well,

but we didn't try that).

 

The ink looks light grey when it goes on, but as it oxidises it slowly

turns to black. It's quite fun watching the ink develop before your

eyes, it's quite different from modern inks which just sit there

staying the same colour.

 

If you leave out the gum arabic/arrowroot you have a dye. Heat silk in

it and you get a dense bluish black. On wool it gives a very very dark

brown colour, it looks black beside a black T shirt, but had a

definite brownish tinge when held next to the dyed silk.

 

The oak galls are a concentrated source of tannin. If you can't get

oak galls we produced a similar effect by boiling three teabags in a

cup of water for about quarter of an hour. It wasn't quite as good an

ink as the stuff from the oak galls, but it improved overnight and

gave a reasonable black. The oak gall ink also improved overnight even

though we had strained out the oak galls by passing it through a

coarse cloth. I suppose there was still fine sediment in the pot that

was causing the tannin concentration to go up? After leaving overnight

the ink went onto paper as a dark grey colour, and turned as black as

india ink within minutes.

 

I would like to try the same again with a different source of Iron

since a bottle of Iron sulphate crytals doesn't look very period.

Iron filings or rust might work as a source of Iron to blacken the

ink, as vegetable tanned leather turns black when exposed to iron

rivets and fittings. I suspect the iron is reacting with the tannin in

the leather to produce the same black compound.

 

The oak gall ink dyes wood black, so I'm planning on using it to

paint in the details on my Viking tent, as the original from the

Gokstad ship had painted details on it.

 

We used quill pens to write with the ink, and sometimes found the ink

went on a little grey as it ran out. This meant that we had to dip

slightly more often than when using india ink, but it was worth it for

the fun of watching the letters change colour as we wrote.

 

Jennifer/Rannveik

Vanaheim Vikings

 

 

From: J.A.Bray at bnr.co.uk (3/15/94)

To: markh at sphinx

RE>Period Black Ink/Dye

 

>But what are oak galls? Acorns? Acorn husks?

 

There is a small insect called the gall wasp, that lays its eggs on oak trees.

When the larvae hatch out they eat the oak bark which irritates the oak tree.

The tree reacts by forming an oak gall around the larvae. This is a small

sphere made of a bark-like material, but smooth on the outside and with a

much higher concentration of tannin than normal oak bark. The spheres are

about the size of a large acorn and grow straight out from the twigs. The

larvae grow and pupate inside the oak galls then eat their way out leaving

tiny circular exit holes.

The oak galls are good for making ink because of the high tannin content.

You can also get tannin from oak trees by stripping off the bark, but

picking oak galls does not damage the tree, unlike stripping bark off the

tree which eventually can kill an oak.

 

Also the galls are very easy to pick, they just twist off the twig, sometimes

they fall off on their own and can be gathered from the ground beneath the

tree. Stripping bark from a tree is a comparitively difficult task.

 

Hope that explains it, I don't know if there are gall wasps in America.

 

Jennifer

 

 

From: rudi3964 at utdallas.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: period ink

Date: 20 Apr 1995 21:12:33 -0500

Organization: The University of Texas at Dallas

 

gawain at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca wrote:

> Does anyone out there have any source material regarding inks used in

> period?  I would like to make some for a manuscript I'm doing and am

> having some trouble locating recipes and other information.  Feel free to

> e-mail me at <gawain at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca>.  Many thanks.

 

Serena here:  Try Cennino Cennini's treatise on period illumination

techniques (I'm doing this off the top of my head, so can't give full

bibliographical info; it's published by Dover Books). Also try Theophilus

(same publisher). Daniel Thompson translated several period texts,

including Cennini, the information from which is in _The Materials and

Techniques of Medieval Painting_. The long and short of all of this is:

Either mix lampblack pigment with gum arabic liquid until you like the

consistency, or do nasty things with/to oak galls until you have ink. All

in all, it's easier to make the former, and you can't beat it for

permanence.

 

Serena Lascelles/ Diane Pilkington

 

 

From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: request Oak Gall ink

Date: 7 Dec 1995 05:10:05 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley

 

In article <01HYHS9POQ5Y000BXB at pmdf.lane.edu>,

Janet Lueck <LUECK at edlane.lane.EDU> wrote:

 

>I am interested in finding a workable recipe for making ink from oak galls.  I

>appreciate any help you can give me.  Thanks!

 

Find somebody who's got a collection of old TIs. Atanielle

Unesse" published a very useful article in, oh, mid-1980s I think,

titled "Eight Gills of Galls."

 

Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin          Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                   UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable           djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu

PRO DEO ET REGE

 

 

From: david.razler at compudata.com (DAVID RAZLER)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: request Oak Gall ink

Date: Fri, 08 Dec 95 21:51:00 -0400

Organization: Compu-Data BBS -=- Turnersville, NJ -=- 609-232-1245

 

DJ>Janet Lueck <LUECK at edlane.lane.EDU> wrote:

 

DJ>>I am interested in finding a workable recipe for making ink from oak

DJ>galls.  I  

DJ>>appreciate any help you can give me.  Thanks!

 

I would *avoid* using oak galls as anything more than a mordant, and

then, only for documents one does not want to keep long.

 

Oak galls are rich sources of tannic acid, and, while they can be used

to make a brown dye, the dye fades much faster than that made of

lampblack, which is as permanent as the agent that binds it to a page,

but tends to chip if flexed.

 

Not only does the oak gall ink fade, but that ink is the paper's worst

enemy. Adding any acid content to paper leads towards its eventual

breakdown, the reason most wood-pulp papers quickly yellow and flake.

 

Many papers are acid-free, either by the nature of the material or the

process used to create them. But that property can be destroyed by using

an acidic ink.

 

                        Aleksandr the Traveller

           Who frequently has to warn people about "those little apples"

                  and other oddments in the freezer.

 

 

From: cav at bnr.ca (Rick Cavasin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: request Oak Gall ink

Date: 11 Dec 1995 14:52:08 GMT

Organization: Bell-Northern Research Ltd.

 

In article <8B6851F.02DE00E663.uuout at compudata.com>, david.razler at compudata.com (DAVID RAZLER) writes:

|>

|> DJ>Janet Lueck <LUECK at edlane.lane.EDU> wrote:

|>

|> DJ>>I am interested in finding a workable recipe for making ink from oak

|> DJ>galls.  I  

|> DJ>>appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks!

|>

|> I would *avoid* using oak galls as anything more than a mordant, and

|> then, only for documents one does not want to keep long.

 

How long is 'long'?  Many medieval manuscripts written with iron gallo-tannate

inks have survived reasonably well.  Some have been damaged by the ink, but

this may be partly due to improper preparation of the ink.

 

|> Oak galls are rich sources of tannic acid, and, while they can be used

|> to make a brown dye, the dye fades much faster than that made of

|> lampblack, which is as permanent as the agent that binds it to a page,

|> but tends to chip if flexed.

 

But iron gallo-tannate inks were the most commonly used inks in our period (in

Europe).  Surely, if someone is interested in more authentic reproduction, they

should be trying to figure out why some inks destroyed their support while

others did not, rather than avoiding that type of ink entirely.

 

|> Not only does the oak gall ink fade, but that ink is the paper's worst

|> enemy. Adding any acid content to paper leads towards its eventual

|> breakdown, the reason most wood-pulp papers quickly yellow and flake.

 

I don't know about paper, but with parchment, the gallic and tannic acid is

not the main culprit in the breakdown.  From my admittedly limited reading

on the subject, the impression I get is that it is the Ferrous sulphate added

to make the ink black that is the main agent in damaging the parchment.  It

seems that the trick is to use just enough ferrous sulphate to turn the ink

black, but not so much that there is a large residue that will breakdown the

support.  Whether alternatives like ferrous acetate (obtained by dissolving

iron in vinegar) are more forgiving I cannot say.

 

|> Many papers are acid-free, either by the nature of the material or the

|> process used to create them. But that property can be destroyed by using

|> an acidic ink.

 

High quality paper and (real) parchment/vellum will have a certain buffering

capacity and will be able to neutralize small amounts of acid.

 

While caution should certainly be exercised in preparing iron-gallo-tannate

inks, if it were as destructive as you say, we'd have precious few surviving

manuscripts from our period.  Some have been damaged, but many are still

useable.

 

And don't even get me started about oddments in freezers...

 

Cheers, Balderik (who aspires to having room in the freezer for food someday)

 

 

From: WISH at uriacc.uri.EDU (Peter Rose)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Ink.

Date: 7 Dec 1995 17:27:43 -0500

 

>I am interested in finding a workable recipe for making ink from oak galls.  I

>appreciate any help you can give me.  Thanks!

 

Well, I know for a fact that Theopholis' _On Divers Arts_ has a recipe

using logwood, which ought to be the same process.

 

Take logwood, cut in the spring, just as the sap starts to run,

cut it, let it dry in the shade for 4 weeks.  beat the bark off

with a stick, let that steep in rainwater in an iron cauldron

for 8 weeks, take out the bark, boil and put the bark back in,

changing the bark periodically until you're down to 1/3,

add some amount of cheap red wine, (half as much as the remaining

water?)  and boil it down until it becomes pudding-like.

let it dry in the sun in a parchment bag.

When you want to use some liquify it with more cheap red wine,

if it's not dark enough, plunge red-hot iron into it.

 

For oak-gall (oak bark works, but there's less tannin in it.)

I'd pulverize the oak-gall, and let it sit in a bucket with

a bunch of iron nails, steel wool, etc, until it's starting

to rot, then boil it down. I tried it with oak bark and no

wine and got a watery-looking medium-brown stain, which, when

you wrote with it, slowly got darker over time.

 

In case you weren't expecting it, the boiling process smells a lot.

*I* kind of like the smell, but chances are, your housemates won't.

do the boiling outside, on a charcoal grill or something.

 

                     --Azelin

 

Peter G. Rose     | Azelin Cola  | Ralph, the Carter, |

PO Box 3072,      | of Wishford, | of Trollhaven      |

Kingston RI 02881 | Bridge, E.K. |                    |

(401) 792-2301    | Gu. a tern migrant between 3 Quatrefoils Ar.

 

 

From: cav at bnr.ca (Rick Cavasin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Ink.

Date: 8 Dec 1995 13:47:00 GMT

Organization: Bell-Northern Research Ltd.

 

WISH at uriacc.uri.EDU (Peter Rose) writes:

|>

|> Well, I know for a fact that Theopholis' _On Divers Arts_ has a recipe

|> using logwood, which ought to be the same process.

|>

|> Take logwood, cut in the spring, just as the sap starts to run,

        ^^^^^^^^

 

Whoa there big fella!  I'd double check that!  Logwood is the common name for

a central american tree that yields a purple/blue dye which can be converted

to black with an iron mordant.  Unfortunately, it was not available in Europe

until some time after Columbus' voyages.  My copy of Theophilus is at home,

but I seem to remember that the recipe you cite involved branches of some sort

of bush-like tree, perhaps hawthorne.  Even if the new world had been discovered

several centuries earlier, Theophilus would hardly be able to specify how the

wood should be cut and dried, as that operation would be carried out before it

was shipped to Europe.  This recipe is very likely just using an alternate

source of tannin (oak galls are just one source), and not specifying the

dye found in logwood.

 

Cheers, Rick/Balderik

 

 

From: WISH at uriacc.uri.EDU (Peter Rose)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Oak Gall Ink

Date: 13 Dec 1995 15:49:04 -0500

 

>|> Well, I know for a fact that Theopholis' _On Divers Arts_ has a recipe

>|> using logwood, which ought to be the same process.

>|>

>|> Take logwood, cut in the spring, just as the sap starts to run,

>        ^^^^^^^^

>Whoa there big fella!  I'd double check that!  Logwood is the common name for

>a central american tree that yields a purple/blue dye which can be converted

>to black with an iron mordant.  Unfortunately, it was not available in Europe

>until some time after Columbus' voyages.  My copy of Theophilus is at home,

>but I seem to remember that the recipe you cite involved branches of some sort

>of bush-like tree, perhaps hawthorne.  Even if the new world had been discovere

 

You're right.  I misremembered.  The Logwood recipe is from some

chemistry handbook I got from Lindsay Technical Books.  I dug up

my copy of theophilus, and extracted a functional recipe,

(which was sort of close to what I posted, a bit), and posted the

thing at http://131.128.2.49/ink.html  If anyone's still looking

for it.   The only part I now don't have right is:  What's green vitriol?

 

                             --Azelin

 

Peter G. Rose     | Azelin Cola  | Ralph, the Carter, |

PO Box 3072,      | of Wishford, | of Trollhaven      |

Kingston RI 02881 | Bridge, E.K. |                    |

(401) 792-2301    | Gu. a tern migrant between 3 Quatrefoils Ar.

 

 

From: cav at bnr.ca (Rick Cavasin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Ink

Date: 13 Dec 1995 22:22:45 GMT

Organization: Bell-Northern Research Ltd.

 

|> You're right.  I misremembered.  The Logwood recipe is from some

|> chemistry handbook I got from Lindsay Technical Books.  I dug up

|> my copy of theophilus, and extracted a functional recipe,

|> (which was sort of close to what I posted, a bit), and  posted the

|> thing at http://131.128.2.49/ink.html  If anyone's still looking

|> for it.   The only part I now don't have right is: What's green vitriol?

 

Probably ferrous sulphate, which I think was also called 'Roman Vitriol'.

Standard source for iron in making gallo-tannate inks. That, or Ferrous

acetate, which would have been the second most likely source of iron.

 

I know, I know, I should look the stuff up, but all my books are at home....

 

Cheers, Balderik/Rick

 

 

From: lunalux at bitstream.NET (Lunalux)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Sealing wax, seals & writing inks

Date: 12 Sep 1996 23:19:25 -0400

Organization: Lunalux Art & Design Workshop

 

Greetings - I found some past postings on sealing wax, seals & ink in

the digest and thought I would offer some further information.

 

        I have been making sealing wax and custom seals in my studio for a few

years. Most recently, I have been making three writing inks from old

recipes. These are SEPIA from cuttlefish ink, INDIGO, from Indigo plant

and of course IRON-GALL ink.

 

Lunalux is a design and letterpress studio in Minneapolis.

 

I would be happy to entertain any questions. I can be reached 10-6

central time at:

 

  Lunalux art & design workshop: 1618 Harmon Place Mpls.,MN 55403

      Telephone; 612-373-0526    Fax: 612-673-0671

                                                                                                        Lunalux at bitstream.net

 

 

Date: Wed, 4 Jun 1997 12:47:08 -0400 (EDT)

From: PamD956 at aol.com

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Recipe?

 

<<     Greetings all, I have collected what I believe to be oak galls

I would now like to find out what to do with them next in terms

of making oak gall ink for some of my calliging friends.

Any one out there have a good recipe?

Lady Isabeau Pferdebandiger, Constellation Region, Middle

  >>

 

I don't know if it's a good recipe but it is a period one... taken from Lost

Country Life, page 324:

"An early mediaeval ink was made from blackthorn bark, which was macerated in

rain water till the black powdery deposit formed a thick deposit at the

bottom. The water was then strained off and the black residue was dried,

mixed with (cherry and apple bark gums) , and ground down. Other inks were

made from oak galls."  It also says that the ink used for Tusser's books was

oil bound, which accounted for it's long lasting color.

 

Lost Country Life by Dorothy Hartley

Pantheon books c. 1979

ISBN 0-304-51036-4

 

 

Date: Thu, 5 Jun 1997 08:11:16 +22300454 (EST)

From: karen at addl.purdue.edu (Karen Stegmeier)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: oak galls

 

        Alban asked about what oak galls look like..

What I found on some of our younger oak trees were little brown balls

attached to the side of the twigs.  Some had holes in them where the

litte insect that causes them had already hatched.  I found some that

seemed fairly large-almost as big as the end of my finger and those were

smooth and nutty brown in color while there were some older ones that

had shriveled up and were more of a grey/brown.

 

Has anyone ever gotten the Oak Gall Ink Kit from the Gabriel guild and

gotten their recipe?  -Lady Isabeau Pferdebandiger

 

 

Date: Thu, 5 Jun 1997 22:52:31 -0500

From: Margritte <margritt at mindspring.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Recipe? (Long reply)

 

>      Greetings all, I have collected what I believe to be oak galls

>I would now like to find out what to do with them next in terms

>of making oak gall ink for some of my calliging friends.

>Any one out there have a good recipe?

>Lady Isabeau Pferdebandiger, Constellation Region, Middle

 

I made oak gall ink just recently for our Kingdom A&S competition. Here is

the relevant portion of my documentation. I also made vineblack ink and

invisible ink, if anyone is interested.

 

-Margritte

 

Oak Gall Inks

 

        The other popular ink of the Middle Ages was actually a dye, and

not a suspension of pigments. Tannic acid, when mixed with iron salts,

produces a dark dye that becomes even blacker as it oxidizes on exposure to

air. Tannic acid occurs naturally in oak trees, but large concentrations of

it can be found in the "galls" that are sometimes produced. When an insect

bites an oak, the tree reacts by concentrating tannins in that point. The

tannins are poisonous to the insect. A small swelling in the bark protect

the tree from further damage. These galls were harvested, soaked in water

and mixed with iron salts to produce a fine ink.

        Medieval calligraphers sometimes found that the oak gall ink did

not make a dark enough line when it was first applied, especially if a

fine-tipped pen was used. Many recipes from late medieval English texts

recommend burning a bit of parchment or paper and adding the soot to the

oak gall ink to make it more readable (Thompson. p. 84).

 

 

        "A Medieval Home Companion" gives the following recipe for oak gall ink:

 

To make three pintes of ink: Take galls and gum, two ounces of each, and

three ounces of copperas*. Crush the galls and soak them for three days.

Then boil them in three quartes of rain water, or water from a still pool.

When they have boiled enough and the water is almost half-boiled away

(I.e., no more than three pintes are left), take it off the fire, add the

copperas and gum, and stir it until it is cold. Then put it in a cold, damp

place. After three weeks it spoils. (Bayard, p. 139). *Note:Copperas is

ferrous sulfate.

 

        While this is a really neat period recipe, and one which I may

actually try someday, I decided to use a much simpler method suggested by

several calligraphy books and conversations with calligraphers: a simple

mixture of oak galls, water, and rusty nails.

 

        Finding the oak galls proved to be the most difficult part of this

experiment. Although oak galls are usually found in late summer or autumn,

I was lucky enough to find mine in early spring. I picked a scant handful

and put them in a baby food jar with just enough water to cover them well.

Within a few hours, the water was dark brown (similar to the water found in

springs near cypress trees, which also contain tannin).

 

        The next day, I added a few rusty nails to provide the iron for the

mixture. The ink turned black almost at once. I left it sitting in a sunny

windowsill for the next few weeks, shaking it occasionally to mix it.

 

        Eventually, I noticed that the mixture had a tendency to separate

out, leaving almost pure water at the top. I drained this off with an

eye-dropper. Also, the ink had a thin oily film on the surface which was

somewhat unexpected. I strained the final product through a kitchen

strainer to remove what was left of the galls and nails.

******

        _A Medieval Home Companion; Housekeeping in the Fourteenth

Century_, translated and edited by Tania Bayard. Harper Perennial, a

division of Harper Collins Publishers; New York: 1992.

        This is an abridged translation of "Le menagier de Paris", an

instruction book written by an elderly gentleman who had married a bride of

fifteen. In this book, he tried to include everything she would need to

know to be a model wife. The original manuscript has been lost, but there

are three copies from the fifteenth century which have survived. This is

only one of the several translations that have been made.

 

        _The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting_, by Daniel V.

Thompson, with a foreward by Bernard Berenson. Dover Publications, Inc.,

New York: 1956.

        An inexpensive, informative Dover paperback. It discusses drawing

surfaces, pigments, binding media, metals, and more. However, it tends to

be fairly opinionated. Also, there is no bibliography.

 

        _Illumination for Modern Calligraphers: Practical Ideas from

Nineteenth-Century Handbooks_, by Christopher Jarman. Watson-Guptill

Publications, New York: 1988.

        This book is largely based on Ernest Guillot's L'Ornementation,

published in Paris in 1890. In other words, Victorian calligraphy based on

medieval designs. Nonetheless, it has a short but informative section on

inks, as well as lots of pretty pictures drawn from period sources.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

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http://www.mindspring.com/~maclain/

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--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Date: Wed, 9 Jul 1997 08:23:00 +22300454 (EST)

From: karen at addl.purdue.edu (Karen Stegmeier)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: manuscript stuff

 

        I don't know if anyone else has already mentioned this or not

since I am not able to watch all the posting that closely, but

There is a wonderful supplier of period manuscript goods including

kits for making period inks, or period inks, vellum etc.

It is The Gabriel Guild.  I believe they are out of New York and somewhat

affiliated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  They are likely to be

at Pennsic.  I picked up a catalog last year when I bought some gold leaf

They have an Oak Gall Ink Recipe/kit that I am thinking about getting

 

-Isabeau Pferdebandiger

 

 

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 08:45:38 -0700

From: "Gina L. Hill" <hekav at gte.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re:Ink from Soot...

 

akasha at gte.net wrote:

> Ahhh...I feel a new thread coming on.  How do you make ink from soot?

>

> Lady Joanna

 

Quoting from the Anglo-Saxon and Viking Crafts - Manuscript Production

webpage which has a soot recipe, as well as one made from thornwood...:

 

"Here is a simple, traditional ink recipe;"

 

"Take a quantity of albumen (egg white) and mix thouroughly with soot.

Then add honey and mix into a smooth paste.  The ink is then ready to

use."

The site which has several other recipes quoted from "On divers arts" by

Theophilus available from Dover Books, ISBN 0-486-23784-2.

 

I have not personally tried this *yet*, but I intend to!

 

This is a most interesting site!  Lots useful tidbits, including

instructions for cutting a proper and functional feather quill...to use

with your ink.  Enjoy!

 

Here's the URL:

http://www.ftech.net/%7Eregia/quill3.htm

 

Eleanor of Leycestershyre

 

 

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 21:04:20 -0400

From: Elyse Boucher <70521.3645 at compuserve.com>

To: "INTERNET:sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: SCA-ARTS digest 504

 

Lady Joanna Scripsit:

Ahhh...I feel a new thread coming on.  How do you make ink from soot?

 

Lady Joanna

-------

If you go to this link you'll find several period reciepts for making ink

from soot.

 

http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Library/ink.html

 

I have a number of medieval ink receipts online, as well as the rough draft

of my own transcription of _The Arte of Limming_, so you should be able to

find lots of information on the scribal sciences. :)

 

Since I read the digest version of SCA-ARTS, I'm assuming that someone has

already answered your question regarding precisely how ink is made from

soot, but JUST IN CASE no one did, here is the *short* version:

 

Collect soot into a container of some sort. Add gum arabic solution. Then

add water to thin the ink to writing consistancy. Ta Da!

 

Actually, soot is a major componant in many inks; sumi/india inks all get

their black from carbon; modern stick inks are pretty much the same thing

as medieval soot inks and thus work well in reproductions of period pieces.

Gum arabic is a plant sap commonly used in many art applications. And food

applications. And it also works well as a medieval fray check; I read that

in Arnold, though; have never tried it myself. :) Versatile (sp?) stuff,

eh?

 

But I'm drifting now. Alas.

 

Ever your servant, Merouda Pendray. :)

----------

Merouda Pendray: Caer Anterth, Northshield, Middle.

(Elyse C. Boucher: West Allis, Wisconsin, USA)

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:26:11 -0500

From: capriest at cs.vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Ink Recipes

 

Jovian asked:

>Does anyone know of any other sources or recipes for ink?

 

There are a whole pile of period recipes at this link.

http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Library/2036/ink.html

 

Carolyn Priest-Dorman              Thora Sharptooth

capriest  at  cs. vassar. edu         Frostahlid, Austmork

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:46:30 -0500

From: Karen at stierbach.atlantia.sca.org (Larsdatter, Karen )

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Ink Links

 

For some inky links, check out the following:

http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/topics/call.htm (towards the bottom of

the page)

 

and

 

http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/topi-ti.htm#dyesinks (topics in TI

relating to inks, etc.)

 

Karen Larsdatter

 

 

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 13:42:20 -0500

From: "Elyse C. Boucher" <70521.3645 at compuserve.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: SCA-ARTS digest 706

 

greetings from the humble scribe Merouda.

 

If you would like info on ink, first, let me suggest that you visit my

web site:

 

http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Library/2036

 

There is an article therein that has links to several ink reciepts, and

also has several ink receipts within the article itself.

 

Second, I suggest that you obtain Jack Thompson's _Medieval Inks_.

At US$8.00 plus S&H, it is an excellent and inexpensive book containing

a transcription of a 16th century book about ink making, a section

summerizing his own research, and a section summerizing C. Linblade's

(sp) research on stick inks. An excellent book. The website is, I _think_

located at http://www.teleport.com/~tcl If that isn't precisely right, I

do have his web site inluded in the "links" section of my website.

 

Third, I suggest you scan through the bibliography on my site; there are

about 11 translations of primary sources (and thus, period ink resources)

located in the section of the bibliography that deals with instructional

books.

 

Hope this is helpful to you; I'd just list titles for you and so forth, but

I'm currently at work and so have no access to my list of specifics. :-)

 

Take care, your servant, Merouda Pendray

 

 

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 23:59:47 -0400

From: "Gryphon's Moon" <margritt at mindspring.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Recipe?

 

>       Greetings all, I have collected what I believe to be oak galls

>I would now like to find out what to do with them next in terms

>of making oak gall ink for some of my calliging friends.

>Any one out there have a good recipe?

>Lady Isabeau Pferdebandiger, Constellation Region, Middle

 

Here's part of my documentation for an entry of 3 period inks (oak

gall, vine black, and invisible):

 

Oak Gall Inks

 

        Another popular ink of the Middle Ages was actually a dye,

and not a suspension of pigments. Tannic acid, when mixed with iron

salts, produces a dark dye that becomes even blacker as it oxidizes

on exposure to air. Tannic acid occurs naturally in oak trees, but

large concentrations of it can be found in the "galls" that are

sometimes produced. When an insect bites an oak, the tree reacts by

concentrating tannins in that point. The tannins are poisonous to the

insect. A small swelling in the bark protect the tree from further

damage. These galls were harvested, soaked in water and mixed with

iron salts to produce a fine ink.

        Medieval calligraphers sometimes found that the oak gall ink

did not make a dark enough line when it was first applied, especially

if a fine-tipped pen was used. Many recipes from late medieval

English texts recommend burning a bit of parchment or paper and

adding the soot to the oak gall ink to make it more readable

(Thompson. p. 84).

 

        "A Medieval Home Companion" gives the following recipe for

oak gall ink:

 

To make three pintes of ink: Take galls and gum, two ounces of each,

and three ounces of copperas*. Crush the galls and soak them for

three days. Then boil them in three quartes of rain water, or water

from a still pool. When they have boiled enough and the water is

almost half-boiled away (I.e., no more than three pintes are left),

take it off the fire, add the copperas and gum, and stir it until it

is cold. Then put it in a cold, damp place. After three weeks it

spoils. (Bayard, p. 139). *Note:Copperas is ferrous sulfate.

 

        While this is a really neat period recipe, and one which I

may actually try someday, I decided to use a much simpler method

suggested by several calligraphy books and conversations with

calligraphers: a simple mixture of oak galls, water, and rusty nails.

        Oak galls are usually found in late summer or autumn. Pick a

scant handful and put them in a small jar (baby food jars are a great

size for ink experiments) with just enough water to cover them well.

Within a few hours, the water will turn dark brown (similar to the

water found in springs near cypress trees, which also contain

tannin). Add a few rusty nails to provide the iron for the mixture.

The ink will turn black almost at once. Leave it sitting in a sunny

windowsill for a week or two, shaking it occasionally to mix it.

        Eventually, you will notice that the mixture has a tendency

to separate out, leaving almost pure water at the top. Drain this off

with an eye-dropper. Strain the final product through a kitchen

strainer to remove what is left of the galls and nails.

 

Bibliography

 

        A Medieval Home Companion; Housekeeping in the Fourteenth

Century, translated and edited by Tania Bayard. Harper Perennial, a

division of Harper Collins Publishers; New York: 1992.

        This is an abridged translation of "Le menagier de Paris", an

instruction book written by an elderly gentleman who had married a

bride of fifteen. In this book, he tried to include everything she

would need to know to be a model wife. The original manuscript has

been lost, but there are three copies from the fifteenth century

which have survived. This is only one of the several translations

that have been made.

 

        The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting, by Daniel

V. Thompson, with a foreward by Bernard Berenson. Dover Publications,

Inc., New York: 1956.

        An inexpensive, informative Dover paperback. It discusses

drawing surfaces, pigments, binding media, metals, and more. However,

it tends to be fairly opinionated. Also, there is no bibliography.

 

        Illumination for Modern Calligraphers: Practical Ideas from

Nineteenth-Century Handbooks, by Christopher Jarman. Watson-Guptill

Publications, New York: 1988.

        This book is largely based on Ernest Guillot's

L'Ornementation, published in Paris in 1890. In other words,

Victorian calligraphy based on medieval designs. Nonetheless, it has

a short but informative section on inks, as well as lots of pretty

pictures drawn from period sources.

 

-Margritte

 

 

Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 04:21:53 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl at teleport.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Recipe?

 

I'd like to correct a couple of things which Margritte explained

about iron gall ink.

 

>When an insect bites an oak, the tree reacts by concentrating

>tannins in that point. The tannins are poisonous to the insect.

 

The first part is correct.  Many different insects lay their eggs

in oak bark, but the one generally known is the gall wasp (Cynips

Kollari).  The tree considers these eggs to be an infection and

grows a wart, or gall to isolate them.  But tannic acid is not

poisonous to the eggs, it is their food.

 

If you collect galls to make ink or dye, the ones with a hole

are galls that the new wasps have escaped from and those galls have

less tannic acid than galls which still contain eggs.

 

>Many recipes from late medieval English texts recommend burning a

>bit of parchment or paper and adding the soot to the oak gall ink

>to make it more readable

>(Thompson. p. 84).

 

But he also goes on to say that soot does not mix well with water

and iron gall ink is water with stuff in.  Try it some time.

 

While I'm at it, I may as well plug my own book, _Manuscript Inks_

which can be seen on my web page (http://www.teleport.com/~tcl) just

follow the Caber Press link.

 

This book explains how to make iron gall ink and cooperas (ferrous sulfate)

and includes a long appendix by Claes Lindblad on Asian stick inks.

 

Jack C. Thompson

Thompson Conservation Laboratory

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)

http://www.teleport.com/~tcl

 

 

Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 07:28:40 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl at teleport.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Oak Gall Recipe?

 

>That was very interesting. I have never heard of gall ink or how they made

>it before.

>Why is the acid important. Does it made a darker color on the paper or

>something. Marguerite

 

Tannic acid will write out brown (pale to dark, depending on concentration)

on paper and parchment, but it will fade in time.  So will iron gall inks,

if the proportions are not correct.

 

If another acid, known variously as green vitriol, copperas, and ferrous

sulphate, is added the combination will turn a dark black on the page and

it is very permanent.  If the proportions are correct. Too much copperas

and the ink will slowly eat holes in the paper/parchment; too little, and

the ink will not turn very black (may not turn black at all - only one or

another shade of brown - reddish-brown).

 

Copperas contains a little free sulfuric acid.  In correct proportions it

has produced an ink in combination with tannic acid which has lasted for

centuries and does not wash out, as carbon-based inks will.

 

If carbon-based inks (watercolor paints, really.  soot and gum arabic) are

kept dry they also last a very long time.  This is the ink used on Egyptian

papyrus.

 

Jack C. Thompson

Thompson Conservation Laboratory

 

 

Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 07:28:44 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl at teleport.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Oak Galls

 

>The oak galls you are talking about, are these galls formed on the trunk

>and branches of the tree, or on the leaves?

 

>Ellen of the Scholars

>Middle Kingdom

 

I've never found any on the trunk of an oak tree or the leaves, but near the

leaves.  The gall wasp likes to lay her eggs in young, new growth because the

bark is thinner/weaker, so they will often be clustered around the leaves.

 

Most of the galls I find in Oregon and California are about the size of

ping pong balls, light and fairly hollow, or about the size of crab apples,

dense and somewhat light.  The latter are also known as oak apples.  I've never

made very good ink from oak apples, but the 'ping pong' balls work fine.

 

The best oak galls are from about 1/4 inch to about an inch in diameter,

hard and very dense.  Traditionally, they came into Europe through the

Syrian port of Aleppo, and are still known as Aleppo galls.

 

The important thing, in making up a decoction of tannic acid is to keep

things in proportion.  If the recipe calls for soaking 3 parts of Aleppo

galls in 30 parts water (all parts by weight) you'll be soaking a lot more

light galls than Aleppo galls.

 

And don't throw the galls away after the first running. I've made a good

ink from the third running of some galls a friend sent to me from Minnesota.

 

You can always get two runnings, but you'll want to cook the second running

down a little more than the first running.

 

Jack C. Thompson

Thompson Conservation Laboratory

 

 

Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 02:24:59 +0200

From: Thomas Gloning <gloning at Mailer.Uni-Marburg.DE>

Subject: SC - info on period ink formulae

 

<<... am attempting to find info on period ink formulae ... Any help ...

>>

 

There are some wellknown medieval recipes/techniques for ink and for the

colors to illuminate manuscripts. Several recipes for ink and colors

even found their way into the cookbook of Maister Hanns (1460). Here are

some sources and some investigations (mostly in German, can't help it).

 

- -- Bo?hammer, G.: Technologische und Farbrezepte des Kasseler Codex

medicus 4810. Untersuchungen zur Berufssoziologie des mittelalterlichen

Laienarztes. Pattensen, Han. 1977 (Würzburger medizinhistorische

Forschungen 10).

 

- -- Dodwell, C.D. (transl.): Theophilus, De diversis artibus. London

1961.

 

- -- Dressler, F.: Scriptorum opus. Schreibermönche am Werk. Wiesbaden

1971.

 

- -- Ilg, A. (Hg.): Heraclius. Von den Farben und Künsten der Römer. Wien

1873 (Quellenschriften für Kunstgeschichte und Kunsttechnik des

Mittelalters und der Renaissance 4).

 

- -- Ilg, A. (Hg.): Theophilus Presbyter, Schedula diversarum artium. Wien

1874.

 

- -- Maister Hanns, des von Wirtenberg Koch: Guot Ding von allerlay Kochen

(1460). Faksimile der Handschrift A.N.V. 12 der UB Basel. Hg. von

Tupperware. Transkription, Übersetzung, Glossar und

kulturgeschichtlicher Kommentar von T. Ehlert. Frankfurt a.M. 1996.

 

- -- Ploss, E.: Studien zu den deutschen Maler- und Färberbüchern des

Mittelalters. Diss. München 1952.

 

- -- Ploss, E.: Ein Buch von alten Farben. Technologie der Textilfarben im

Mittelalter mit einem Ausblick auf die festen Farben. Heidelberg/ Berlin

1962. (Dritte Auflage: München 1973.)

 

- -- Roosen-Runge, H.: Die Buchmalereirezepte des Theophilus. In: Münchner

Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, 3. Folge, III/IV (1952/53) 159-171.

 

- -- Roosen-Runge, H.: Farbgebung und Technik frühmittelalterlicher

Buchmalerei. Studien zu den Traktaten "Mappae Clavicula" und

"Heraclius". Zwei Bände. München 1967.

 

- -- Roosen-Runge, H.: Farben- und Malrezepte in frühmittelalterlichen

technologischen Handschriften. In: Ploss, E.E./ Roosen-Runge, H./

Schipperges, H./ Buntz, H.: Alchimia. Ideologie und Technologie. München

1970, 47-66.

 

- -- Roosen-Runge, H.: Die Tinte des Theophilus. In: Festschrift Luitpold

Dussler. München 1972, 87-112.

 

- -- Smith, C.S./ Hawthorne, J.G.: Mappae clavicula. A little key to the

world of medieval techniques. Philadelphia 1974.

 

- -- Tenner, Ch.: Über einige Färberezepte der Darmstädter Handschrift

1999 aus dem späten 15. Jahrhundert. In: Keil, G. (Hg.): "gelêrter der

arzenîe, ouch apotêker". Festschrift Willem F. Daems. Pattensen, Han.

1982, 79-90.

 

- -- Trost, V.: Gold- und Silbertinten. Technologische Untersuchung zur

abendländischen Chrysographie und Agyrographie von der Spätantike bis

zum hohen Mittelalter. Diss. Würzburg 1983.

 

- -- Trost, V.: Scriptorium. Die Buchherstellung im Mittelalter.

Heidelberg 1986 (Heidelberger Bibliotheksschriften 25).

 

Thomas

 

 

Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2000 10:15:52 -0000

From: "Elonwen ferch Dafydd" <elonwen at hotmail.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Stinkin' Ink

 

Actually there is a very simple way of making ink (and I've been told that

it is a period recipie, though I myself have not studied the subject, so I

don't know where it has been found). The ink is made of soot, egg (white?)

and honey. A friend of mine made it (in a mixer, not very period but easy

and fast) and he said that it could be used even after a year, if it was

kept in an air-tight jar.

 

Elonwen

 

 

Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000 00:51:27 -0600 (CST)

From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl at teleport.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Stinkin' Ink

 

>This whole ink question begs another question from me! Let's say you were

>going to make a lampblack ink: What binding agent would you use?

 

Lampblack, ground up with a little gelatin and honey will make a decent

ink.  Gelatin to keep the carbon particles together and honey to act

as a humectant to keep the ink from cracking.

 

No recipe, really, as the old folks often made up recipes like this

'to taste' and altered them as the season was hot and dry, or cold

and damp.

 

Jack

 

Jack C. Thompson

Thompson Conservation Lab.

7549 N. Fenwick

Portland, Oregon  97217

USA

 

 

Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000 11:26:37 -0600 (CST)

From: "Pixel, Queen of Cats" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: stinkin' Ink-grinder

 

In period, pigments were ground on marble or glass, with flat grinders

called mullers, so that the particles would be as fine as possible. I

don't know if a nutmeg grinder would be able to produce fine enough

particles for ink. You might want to ask on the scribes list

(scribes at castle.org) which is full of people who regularly make their own

ink and pigments.

 

Margaret FitzWilliam

 

--- Amy Betz <idhunna at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Here's a suggestion, though I never tried it.  In

> some of the better kitchen

> stores they have nutmeg grinders that grind the hard

> nuts into a fine powder.  It might work for your purposes too.

>   Idhunna

> who always seems to find similarities in Art and

> cooking.

 

 

Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000 12:57:04 -0500

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Stinkin' Ink

 

I have the same problem. One of the ideas I have seen in a modelling

book / magazine is to cut a hole in a block of wood the size of the

bottle(s), insert tacks on either side and mount/screw it to aoscillating

pad sander base. The tacks are for strong rubber bands used to hold

the ink / paint bottles in their holes. The pad sander handle is

inverted in a vise and the unit turned on for a while.

 

Some of my pad sanders have hook and loop paper attachment methods so

I'm thinking possibly about getting some more loop stuff for the

bottom of the blocks. Blocks and bottles are a lot heavier however.

 

*Note - I have not had time to try this yet. I have about twenty variously

colored ink bottles from about thirty years ago that were good quality

at the time. The liquid is still there, the pigment has just settled

out.*

So I'm interested in the answer as well.

 

Magnus, who used to paint, and calligraph, a verrrry long time ago.

 

> On Thu, 30 Nov 2000, K Thomas wrote:

> I have 2 bottles of expensive ink that are dried out

> to a hard ball. I want to grind the pigment and get it

> back into a medium again, but what to use? Frankly, on

> this account I am not so concerned about using

> authentic, period solutions such yak urine or some

> such, common modern solutions would work for me at the

> moment.

>

> Ysabeau

 

 

Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000 19:31:03 -0500

From: Ron Charlotte <ronch2 at bellsouth.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Stinkin' Ink

 

At 05:18 PM 12/3/00 -0500, Saradwen wrote:

>This whole ink question begs another question from me! Let's say you were

>going to make a lampblack ink: What binding agent would you use? Does anyone

>know of a good period ink recipe that they would be willing to share?

 

I make no claims on the following recipe, It's one of a number of inks and

paints out of a book that I have for some of the other recipes and formulas

it contains:  

 

EXCERPTED FROM:

_The Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis of Piemount_

                               ANNO 1558

Reprinted in 1975 by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Ltd., Amsterdam

                           ISBN 90 221 0707 8

 

To Make ynke, or a colour to wryte with, in a verye good perfection.

 

        Take good Galles, and breake theim in three or foure pieces, that is to

say, stampe them slightly, and put them in a fryinge panne, or some other yron panne, with a litle Oyle, frieng them a litle, then take a pounde of them, and put it in some vessel leaded, pouringe into it as muche white wine as wyll cover it over, more then a good hand breadth.  After, take a pounde of Gomme Arabick, well stramped, and eyghte onces of Vitriole well made in poulder:  myre all well together and set in the sunne certaine dayes, stering it as often as you may: then boyle it a litle if you se that you have neede, and after straine it, and it will be perfecte.

 

And upon the lees that shall remayne in the bottome, you maye poure other

wine, and boyle it a little, and strain it.  You may put wine upon the same

lees as often as you will: that is to say, until you se y the wine whiche

you put in, will straine or be coloured no more.  Then, mingle al the saied

wine, wherinto you shal put other galles, gomme and vitriole as at the

beginning then keping it in the Sunne, you shal have a better inck than the

fyrste, and do so every day, for the oftener you do it, the better you

shall have it, and with lesse coste.

 

And if you finde it to thicke, or that it be not flowinge ynough, put to it

a lyttle cleare lie, whiche will meke it liquide and thinne inoughe.  If it

be to cleare, adde to it a little gomme Arabick.  The galles must be smal,

curled and massive within, if they be good. The good vitriolle is always

within of a colour like unto the elemyt.  The best gomme, is cleere and

brittle, that in stamping it, it becommeth a poulder easely, without

cleaving together.

 

        al Thaalibi -- An Crosaire, Trimaris

        Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL

        afn03234 at afn.org OR ronch2 at bellsouth.net

 

 

Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2000 07:47:25 -0500

From: Ron Charlotte <ronch2 at bellsouth.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Stinkin' Ink

 

At 09:20 PM 12/4/00 -0500, Saradwen wrote:

>> I make no claims on the following recipe, It's one of a number of inks and

>> paints out of a book that I have for some of the other recipes and

>formulas

>> it contains:

>>

>> EXCERPTED FROM:

>> _The Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis of Piemount_

>>                                ANNO 1558

>> Reprinted in 1975 by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Ltd., Amsterdam

>>                            ISBN 90 221 0707 8

>

>Wow, thanks a whole lot! Very, very cool!! I'm gonna save that one for

>future reference!

 

It's a wonderful book, one of 3 in fact.  Some of the apothocary recipes

they contain are down right scary, but the artist's formulas are invaluable.

 

        Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL

        afn03234 at afn.org OR ronch2 at bellsouth.net

 

 

From: Anplica Fiore <anplica at gmail.com>

Date: August 31, 2006 10:44:03 AM CDT

To: Sca-librarians at lists.gallowglass.org, northshield at northshield.org

Subject: [Sca-librarians] Iron Gall Ink

 

A blurb on this week's newsletter from American Library Association

directed me to a site on iron gall ink.  This ink was used quite a bit

in our period of study since it is somewhat permanent and .  The

downside is depending on the recipe used in its creation and the

condition it's stored in it can cause the degradation of the paper it

is used on.  For more information on this fascinating ink, including

recipes and conservation techniques for documents written in iron gall

ink, check out the ink corrosion website:

http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa/ink/.

 

Signora Anplia Fiore

Compass & Ministraro Herald - Kingdom of Northshield

 

<the end>



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