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Has Anyone Heard Of Henry Simpole?


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  • Chris Chalmers


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You beat me to it esterbex, thanks! When I get back to Singapore I'll post some more pics of the original Dunhill Namiki pen, and let you know what I have in mind for one of the two pens so masterfully crafted by Henry!

Thanks also to Neal for the great photography!

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OMG!!!! Are they larger than the Spirit of Life pen? But not as large as the CS Great Exhibition?

The pattern is extraordinary!

Quite beautiful! :wub: I like the red one, too!


Henry may have to correct me but I think they are much bigger than the spirit of life pen, but not as big as the CS Great Exhibition model.



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I believe the CS Great Exhibition is a tad over 8 inches; so this new pen will likely be Henry's largest creation at 8 & 5/8 inches, or 22 cm. :excl: :o

I commissioned Henry for this project which is about recreating in modern times a 1930's Dunhill Namiki pen, which has a silver overlay and is then lacquered over with colored urushi and gold. The lacquer is applied so that the finish is smooth - i.e., the lacquer is flush with the silver overlay.

Here are some pics of the original Dunhill Namiki (at 12.7 cm) alongside Henry's overlay pen, and some close ups to show how Henry was able to match the original design so nicely. Three pens were made - two for me in black ( :D) and the red one Henry wanted for himself.

I will keep one of the blacks as a Henry Simpole Overlay; the second copy moves on to the next stage to be lacquered just as in the original Dunhill Namiki design.

If you are ultra-observant you may notice some very slight variations - that's because Henry was working from a template constructed from a crude montage of a number of images and accordingly it has some aberrations when the montage was spliced together. It is amazing how true Henry was able to keep to the template! This turned out to be fortuitous as the variations lend character to the handmade pen - a modern rendition of 1930's craftsmanship.






http://i779.photobucket.com/albums/yy78/sumoshogo/IMG_0053-1_zps0df48670.jpg http://i779.photobucket.com/albums/yy78/sumoshogo/IMG_0051-1_zpsca4584a3.jpg



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Stunning work, but you'll need a weapons permit for that, and extra weight allowance when flying....


Oh, and is it just a cartridge -standard converter? You could have a ginat custom converter build for that....






Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.





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It is indeed huge! I cant get over the size! But it feels wonderful in the hand - a good heft and very well balanced as you write (unless you post the cap!).

Its an eye-dropper filler - can probably take in a whole bottle of ink - with an optional cartridge filler. Superlative craftsmanship from Henry!

I had two of these in my hand-carry coming back from UK - security at the airport didn't even comment - I was all ready to show them off!

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Great to see good pictures of the two pens together Maz, and you're right, what a great reproduction of that original design. No wonder you're so delighted! You must take and share some more pictures after the new pen has been lacquered, it's going to look amazing I'm sure. Leaving the other Simpole pen in it's current finish is a great idea too, what a trio of pens you'll have.


BTW, the backdrop you've used with your pictures looks good ;) !

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Hi Neal, great to hear from you! I was wondering whether you would recognize the backdrop! The lacquer work will commence in the New Year and will take some months to complete but as soon as it's done I will post some pics!

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I don't think anyone but Henry could have rendered a truer reproduction. Thank you, Maz, for sharing these

treasures with the rest of us. This is artistry at its finest.

God is seldom early, never late, and always on time.

~~Larry Brown

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I am pleased to report that on Monday [in the afternoon] I travelled up to London Town, [to the Cafe Royal, no less!] to meet a friend who had come to the UK on business, and had asked me if it would be possible for me to visit him at his hotel, with a view to him buying one or two of my overlay pens. I should point out that he comes from the Lone Star State!

I met him shortly after 3.00pm, and we made ourselves comfortable in one of the lounges. I showed him a selection of my current line up of overlaid pens, and he homed in on one of the Simpini Pens that I had with me. Then I showed him my only completed Marilyn Monroe pen, and that just 'hit the spot' with him! He decided to have them both!

I celebrated the afternoon's work with a take-away supper of Fish and Chips!!!

Sometimes I just don't care!!!

Truffle Finder. :) :D :excl:

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Good evening everyone,


I wanted to post some photos of an incredible repair that Henry did for me on a Waterman's Patrician cap. When I left the pen with Henry last week I was unsure of how it would turn out as the cap was in such bad condition. I was so excited to see how it looked that I made a special trip down to Portabello today and boy was it worth it!


This is what the cap looked like before the repair...






As you can see from these photos above the cap had many issues, for one the clip was missing, there were cracks running all along the length of the cap and the top had some shrinkage similar to that of some early Conway Stewart pens.


I think that photos below can only speak for themselves.






I could hardly believe it is the same pen! I just had to share these photos.


I would recommend Henry for just about any repair no matter how complex. His work speaks for its self. Thanks Henry and as always, it is a real pleasure spending time down at Portabello with you.



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Thank you David for those very kind words, but it was in my opinion, one of the best repairs that I have done recently.

It was very strange, yesterday shortly after you had left my stand at Portobello, I was inundated with people who had come to drop off their pens for repair, so it looks like I'm in for a busy week!

Truffle Finder. :)

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Hi! Postscript!

I used to be in the Hotel/Restaurant business, until my liking for Alcohol got the better of me, and I went in to 'treatment' in 1983, and then became the chef at the treatment centre [in Wiltshire] and started collecting fountain pens then, [there was a lovely junk shop in Shaftsbury at that time, and I used to buy a lot there!] It wasn't until 1988 when I moved up to Clapham in South London, when I was advised to buy a book about vintage pens, and in true 'Alcoholic Spirit' I bought pens madly at every opportunity, and learnt how to repair them. Then I decided to sell some of my 'doubles', at Totnes Antiques Market, and it was so successful, that I carried on doing repairs, and selling them at Antiques Fairs. [it might be worth mentioning here, that while I was down in Wiltshire, half of my bedroom was like a carpentry workshop, because I used to restore Spanish Guitars and Lutes! I have always enjoyed working with wood!]

Over the years since then, I got to know Bernard Hawkins, [who was known by most pen collectors, as the 'Plastic Surgeon'!] We used to keep in touch by phone most weeks, to discuss the repairs that he [or I was doing at the time] and we were both quite 'open' about how we had overcome various problems. Bernard retired from the pen restoration business a few years ago, and I found myself having to do even the more difficult repairs myself, but it was always a great help if I got stuck, to be able to phone him and ask him about it! We had [and indeed still have] an affinity, in that he also had restored old Spanish Guitars, and in some cases completely re-built them!

There's no doubt about it, if anyone should take the credit for my learning how to restore vintage pens, Bernard should take a bow!!!

The amazing thing about my life since I got 'into Pens', is that none of it was planned, it just sort of 'evolved', even the overlaid pens came about because somebody asked me to photograph a 'Heath' Snake Pen that he had 'found' , and while I had it in my possession, I traced the pattern, and then decided to try to copy it! I don't think for one minute that I will ever become a millionaire from my work, but it is very satisfying to be able to make pens that people seem to like.

As someone very close to me once said, "It's a great day to be sober!!!" [God bless you Norman!]

Truffle Finder. :) :excl:

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I'm quite looking forward to doing Portobello tomorrow.

Having received six or seven pen repairs from various customers last week, i was pleased to be able to telephone their owners to inform them that they are ready to be collected, so one way or another, it looks as though it could be quite a good day up there tomorrow!

Truffle Finder. :) :D :excl:

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