"About five years ago, Jane, myself and our dear friend Sue Courtier spent hours discussing what we considered to be genuine accessories used in the writing process, while we were driving across the mid-west USA.
Following this journey along the Ohio river, Sue was given the task of listing the headings and deciding who would write on each item. Alas sadly Sue died before any start was made but a booklet has now materialized and is dedicated to The Pen & Pencil Lady. This is most appropriate because she had a wider view than most of what was relevant to Victorian writing procedure and she always assembled interesting and often puzzling pieces on her stand.
Our aim was always to write about the unusual, the obsolete and rarer things but almost every item has a following of collectors.
Some areas such as dip pens and quill knives are briefly mentioned but have been considered in detail in other volumes published by The Pen & Pencil Gallery. Other topics such as stamp boxes, paperknives, seals and items indirectly related to writing are on the list for the future.
The emphasis of this booklet is on items directly used in writing, authenticating and dispatching of a letter, journal or document. As in all our series, we only scratch the surface but our wish is to enthuse about the range of collectable writing items available and to present a 'broad brush' approach for beginners.
In the later Victorian period, even trivial writing items attracted the attention of artistic designers and artisans working with silver, bronze and enamel. The commercial opportunity hardly explains the range of quality items which were made and it perhaps attests to the importance of writing during this period.
The sale of such items in Regent Street and Bond Street stores as well as from the many catalogues and stationers that existed at that time has left us with a wonderful variety of accessories that will never be produced again.
We would strongly recommend that anyone interested in a special area trawl through archives, books and internet sources for more details. Most of the items have, at some time, been considered by experts and specialist collectors in antique magazines, The Journal of the Writing Equipment Society and in books on antiques. We have not attempted to regurgitate articles but have included appropriate references in the bibliography.
As always, I am indebted to Michael Finlay for giving me his working papers many years ago; like his book, they have been a wonderful catalyst to my own wanderings in this fascinating area. Some examples of images have kindly been provided by the true specialists and have helped to make the booklet more comprehensive. My thanks to John Mckenzie, John Poole, Alan Lloyd, Brian George, Alan Cole, Chuck Cohn, Jean Bloomfield, Correy Grove, John Daniels, Michael Woods, Chris Robinson, Larry Hanks, john Loring, Sam & Frank Fiorella of Pendemonium and others for their generosity, help, comments and encouragement.
Jane is my fiercest critic and these booklets would never get finished without her help. Both of us are so pleased that we have finally produced something that Sue helped us start and of which we are sure she would approve."