Black inkwell made from horn: 16th century
© Museum of London
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Black inkwell, made from horn. The horn has been pressed so its surface is decorated with tiny figures of saints. These inkwells were used by professional scribes, merchants and clerks. They would travel in the course of their work and carried their own supply of pens and a portable inkhorn, which could be slung around the neck or from a girdle. A deep-blue-black ink was made by mixing oak gall tannin with iron salts and gum arabic. This inkwell is made from pressed horn and is and decorated with the Madonna and child, St George and others saints.
1501 AD - 1600 AD