18th Century Black Botanical Ink

I make all my inks in my North Wales studio from natural dyes. Black is made from oak galls and it is the way black ink was made for centuries in the west, (the Chinese used soot!).

The black is made form a  combination of the tannin in the oak galls  and iron (ferrous sulphate). Painted into paper it is initially near colourless and slowly over 5 minutes or so, the ink oxidises black.  The 18th century in the title refers to the fact that logwood is added to the mixture following an 18th century recipe so that when the ink is first painted on it it looks a dark grey colour.

Lightfastness is measured by placing painted samples in a southwest facing skylight for one month and are graded as follows:

  • No fading – lightfastness of 1
  • Slight fading – lightfastness of 2
  • Loss of colour – lightfastness of 3

All my inks were exposed to sunlight in a south west facing window for one month. The black did not fade so has a lightfastness of 1, it is however corrosive over a long period of time.  High quality watercolour paper may only degrade in a 100 years or so however!

All inks now come with aluminium cap and  with the dropper separate. After using the ink, wash the dropper in clean water and replace cap on bottle. This prevents the dropper blocking up.






14 in stock

Additional information

Weight .145 kg
Dimensions 15 × 9 × 9 cm