The Magic of Black Inks
Date: Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Time: 3 pm GMT
Tutor: Han Neevel
This virtual seminar will consist of a 55 minute presentation by Han Neevel followed by 15 minutes time for questions.
Black inks, i.e. bistre, soot ink, iron gall ink, logwood ink and sepia, have played an important role in the history of mankind as a means of expressing information, either in writing or drawing. This presentation will deal with their history, appearance, chemical composition, manufacture and conservation issues. Special focus will be on logwood inks, as they were applied by 19th and 20th C. artists e.g. Vincent van Gogh.
In 1847, Runge introduced the black chrome-logwood ink as an alternative to iron-gall ink, because the latter attacked steel writing nibs. Due to the rofitable trade in importing logwood from Haiti, chrome-logwood ink became the cheapest and most widely spread black writing ink in France. This could explain why Vincent van Gogh, during his French period, used it for writing and drawing instead of iron gall ink.
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