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Maker’s mark

No, not a post about the bourbon, although I am a fan of that too.

Fleur-de-lys with disturbed pulp

This is another paper from The British Museum’s collection. Only a small area of the fleur-de-lys watermark remains, and it would be pretty difficult to try and identify this one as fleur-de-lys marks were very common, and may have just denoted the paper size rather than anything to do with the mill or maker. However, I am keen on this one due to the wonderful fault visible in it – it looks as it someone’s finger or thumb may have slipped whilst this one was being made. Characteristics like this, and embedded hairs and so on are wonderfully evocative of the mill itself and the hand-made nature of the papermaking process at the time. They feel like a direct link to the papermakers that handled this sheet.


2 responses »

  1. Hi,

    I manage the Islamic Heritage page on facebook ( where you left a link to this blog. I was wondering if it would be possible to get in touch with you over email. I am trying to put together a small team of young artists from the old walled city of Lahore to reproduce some of the old Mughal miniatures. So far we have not been successful in producing quality gold powder (from gold leaf) to be used as paint on the miniatures. It will be interesting if we could compare our notes.

    Also, did you get a chance to view any mughal miniatures from the Chester Beatty Library.. especially the ones featuring in their book .. Muraqqa’: Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library.


    • Hi there, please do email me at I haven’t actually tried making shell gold paint, although I have made silver, and it took much longer than I expected! I talk about it a bit in this post:
      Recipes seem to record just using fingertips to grind the leaf into paint, usually with a small amount of gum arabic, water, and occasionally honey. We found when making the silver that the less water added the better, as keeping the metal quite dry helped to abrade it against the side of the bowl more effectively. Someone who might be able to give you much more in-depth advice is Anita Chowdry, a London-based artist and educator who runs workshops in miniature painting. She has a blog here: Please do email me though as I would love to hear more about your project. The Murraqa’ exhibition at Chester Beatty was part of what made me fall in love with Islamic art!


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