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H.P. Lovecraft's Pen & Ink



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WhiteStarPens

A thread from about 15 years ago discussed the type of fountain pen the great horror writer H.P.L would've used - "...the raven black Waterman he finally selected was both sombre and non-ornate, with not even a small gold band encircling it"; bought after much deliberation over the course of 40 or so minutes in the "[New York] financial district of the 1920s" (pg. 57-58; Howard Phillips Lovecraft Dreamer on the Nightside by Frank Belknap Long) alongside his friend 'Belknapius'.

I believe sometime prior (1916?) he lost an eyedropper pen at the beach, presumably of the same make, and comments that the replacement is a 'modern' self-filler. Unfortunately I forget the source.

 

So, to my point at last, we know roughly what sort of pen, but what ink did he fill it with?

 

Black for sure, but the original drawing of the Cthulhu is annotated with this appropriately weird blue-green-black.

 

Would anyone care to examine the attached photo and give their thoughts as to the modern equivalent of this ink?

 

(Then, I guess, we'll move on to what paper...😂)

 

Screenshot_20210111-205835__01.jpg

W.S.P

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I'm not familiar with the author. 

The green ink in the faded parts (the word sculpture for ex.) reminds me of Noodler's General of the Armies...written with a double broad nib on Midori.  The ink will write blue/teal, dry to sea glass green and overtime revert back to blue....

 

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khalameet

This is a thread much to my liking since I am a huge fan of his Cthulhu related stories. They are amazing.

 

First ink I had in mind was KWZ IG Turquoise, but I think it is actually too dark...

Anyway, I am pretty sure that he would have used a very deep black ink. Somehow fits to his personality of him that I have in my mind.

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JayHomeBody

I am so happy you posted this! I've never seen one of his hand written notes in coloured ink before! This is so exciting, I'm gonna follow this so I can see if anyone can recommend a match!

I am the tarot reading, bookworm, whiskey drinking, witchcraft practicing, old fashioned writing, aunt Beasty in my family and I love it. Tarot readings for sale or trade, especially ink as I've lost all of my pen stuff from a bad burglary last year. And I need penpals! Anyone interested, please PM me!

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WhiteStarPens
28 minutes ago, khalameet said:

This is a thread much to my liking since I am a huge fan of his Cthulhu related stories. They are amazing.

 

First ink I had in mind was KWZ IG Turquoise, but I think it is actually too dark...

Anyway, I am pretty sure that he would have used a very deep black ink. Somehow fits to his personality of him that I have in my mind.

Just a smidge too dark unfortunately. I've been looking through my inks and Diamine Schubert is close but too green and R&K Verdigris hasn't enough blue.

 

I agree he wrote in black most of the time, as the few manuscripts I've seen attest.

19 minutes ago, JayHomeBody said:

I am so happy you posted this! I've never seen one of his hand written notes in coloured ink before! This is so exciting, I'm gonna follow this so I can see if anyone can recommend a match!

There's a postcard from H.P.L written in this same green-blue in, I believe, one of the New England museums, but these are the only two non-black examples I know of. 

 

Oddly, this Cthulhu image can be seen edited to look more 'vintage'. This makes the whole look like an all ink manuscript...

 

 

W.S.P

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That image is a bit too low res, but it appears that it has a halo.  +1 for inks that halo.  And it might help narrow your search for a modern equivalent.

 

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inkstainedruth
22 minutes ago, XYZZY said:

That image is a bit too low res, but it appears that it has a halo.  +1 for inks that halo.  And it might help narrow your search for a modern equivalent.

 

Ooh.  I'm all for inks that halo, after my first encounter with one which did -- vintage Skrip Peacock. :wub:   Thanks for pointing that out; I hadn't taken a close look at the image WhiteStarPens had posted.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Beechwood

I read the author after hearing the group but I found him to be the reading equivalent of walking in deep treacle.

 

I presume RH Barlow was English?

 

 

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I quite enjoy Lovecraft but his writing style seems strained in manufacture; as if he is trying to imitate Poe. Nevertheless, he is still rather good at creating that sense of unease.

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I enjoy Lovecraft because he flouts many of the conventions of today’s “good writing.” It’s refreshing to read read someone who tells rather than shows.  

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WhiteStarPens

Good to hear that most think my little distraction was worthwhile. H.P.L's poetry is definitely worth delving into as well as his prose.

 

I had a brainwave: Diamine Aurora Borealis, so I think I'll get a bottle alongside some Sailor Yama dori and see where that takes me.

 

W.S.P

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MoriartyR

I think Lovecraft’s ink looks very attractive. It’s difficult to be sure what could match it as the paper appears to be cream coloured and would add some yellow tone. The ink looks to be on the greener side of turquoise / aquamarine and it shows a good deal of shading.

 

With the right paper and nib I wonder if Robert Oster Turquoise, GvFC Deep Sea Green, or Edelstein Jade might come close.

 

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WhiteStarPens
2 hours ago, MoriartyR said:

I think Lovecraft’s ink looks very attractive. It’s difficult to be sure what could match it as the paper appears to be cream coloured and would add some yellow tone. The ink looks to be on the greener side of turquoise / aquamarine and it shows a good deal of shading.

 

With the right paper and nib I wonder if Robert Oster Turquoise, GvFC Deep Sea Green, or Edelstein Jade might come close.

 

Always wanted an excuse to splurge on a GvFC ink!

I wonder how much the document has changed in nearly a century... 

My favourite paper is Basildon Bond, which is an off-white, pale cream sort of colour and also comes in an autumnal gold-yellow hue they call champagne. Versions in 'airmail' (thin, white), pink and blue (which I've also tried) are out there too. 

 

I highly recommend Basildon, but be careful of purchasing on Amazon as it can sometimes be stored in damp conditions which will ruin the writing surface, making even Waterman's ink feather like an ostrich in a car wash...

 

I have some of the 'champagne' so I'll give it some thought and post some pictures of various writing samples in due course.

W.S.P

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JayHomeBody
2 hours ago, WhiteStarPens said:

making even Waterman's ink feather like an ostrich in a car wash...

Oh. My. Gods. 

 

I belly laughed at that and scared my dog. You have just made my day ❤

I am the tarot reading, bookworm, whiskey drinking, witchcraft practicing, old fashioned writing, aunt Beasty in my family and I love it. Tarot readings for sale or trade, especially ink as I've lost all of my pen stuff from a bad burglary last year. And I need penpals! Anyone interested, please PM me!

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WhiteStarPens
20 hours ago, JayHomeBody said:

Oh. My. Gods. 

 

I belly laughed at that and scared my dog. You have just made my day ❤

My pleasure!

W.S.P

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On 1/12/2021 at 7:18 AM, gyasko said:

I enjoy Lovecraft because he flouts many of the conventions of today’s “good writing.” It’s refreshing to read read someone who tells rather than shows.  

Think it's a style of the era. He's not quite a Writer of the Purple Page, but he get toward that. He did an excellent send-up of the Perils of Pauline style of stories (sorry, can't remember the title), which raises a significant what-if: Had he pursued that, Lovecraft might have been remembered as a humor writer.

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49 minutes ago, BigBlot said:

Think it's a style of the era. He's not quite a Writer of the Purple Page, but he get toward that. He did an excellent send-up of the Perils of Pauline style of stories (sorry, can't remember the title), which raises a significant what-if: Had he pursued that, Lovecraft might have been remembered as a humor writer.

 

Lovecraft wrote in the time of Stein & Hemingway, Dos Passos, Joyce & Faulkner.  Obviously he wrote nothing like those folks.  Stein & Hemingway especially had already pushed English prose style towards the leaner aesthetic still in fashion today.  

 

I think Lovecraft used an anachronistic style deliberately, as a way to raise the weirdness level to 11 & to disengage the reader from the normal sense of time.  His style is so funky it smells, like C’thulu, “as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, a stench as of a thousand opened graves.”  OK, maybe  not that bad.  It’s a good match for what Lovecraft was doing, so in a weird way, it’s actually good, just not something that works anywhere else.

 

Lurching back to FP content, it’s hard to imagine Lovecraft tapping out the “Call of C’thulu “ Faulkner style on a typewriter or with Hemingway’s pencils.  A BCHR Waterman & green ink 

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