Writing with a Quill Pen, at Home with the Austens
Another of the activities provided for everyone to try during the Diamond Jubilee weekend was a chance to write with ink using a quill pen. The Kitchen, below, was the venue for this event.
Quill pens, ink and papers were provided, free of charge.
And the results were left on show for everyone to see…
At a time when writing with fountains pens is fast becoming a thing of the past, many of our visitors enjoyed the opportunity to write using tools with which Jane Austen would have very familiar
It would seem from the evidence on show that most of our visitors managed very well, and like Fitzwilliam Darcy, didn’t need the assistance of a Miss Bingley:
“I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend it for you. I mend pens remarkably well.”
“Thank you — but I always mend my own.
Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 10
You may be interested to know that in Martha Lloyd’s Household Book, which is currently on show at the Museum,
there is a receipt-or recipe if you like- for ink, which suggests that the Austen household at Chawton made their own. An example of their careful housekeeping, perhaps.
Here is the receipt:
To Make Ink
Take 4 ozs of blue gauls, 2 ozs of green copperas, 1 ½ ozs. of gum arabic. Break the gauls. The gum and the copperas must be beaten in a mortar and put into a pint of strong stale beer; with a pint of small beer. Put in a little refin’d sugar. It must stand in the chimney corner for fourteen days and be shaken two or three time a day.
If you would like to try your hand at writing with a quill pen, then do come along to the Museum this Saturday,the 30th June, for, as part of the events of Alton’s Regency Week, the museum will be holding a day of events that reflect its theme, which this year is At Home with the Austens. In addition to writing with quills, there will be a chance to hear about how Jane Austen’s replica bed was created, the opportunity to see some of the most unusual items from the Museum’s collection and there will also be the chance to experience The Madding Crowd folk ensemble play music and lead dancing in the garden. All the details of the events can be found here, or in the right hand column of the blog. Do come if you can, as it promises to be a most interesting and fun day!