The Iron Gall Ink Website

The Iron Gall Ink Website

More than a decade ago a group of primarily Dutch people took the initiative to build a website on iron gall ink and ink corrosion. The Iron Gall Ink Website was born. Iron gall ink is intriguing in many respects. It's traces are abundantly present within the collections of our worlds museums, libraries and archives.




"To taste the flavor of iron gall ink history thy taketh ...

... one gall wesp on a mediterranian oak tree twig

3000 miles of Gum-Arabic traderoutes

take likewise 5 ounces of mint-green vitriol from a deep dark mine

whereinto put 1 pint of ancient rain water.

Choose a moment in time and a thought to convey.

Mix and stir them every day three or four times thoroughly.

Finish off with a pinch of blotting sand.

Wait a few centuries and discover a testimony of history."


Like the appearance of historic documents gradually changes with time, ideas about iron gall ink and ink corrosion have developed as well. You will find traces of this recent history spread through this website. Besides early contributions dating back to the late nineties, new research results are included. In our opinion, these contributions together represent a valuable resource of knowledge. This website is the joint result of many individuals, and their supporting institutions (in alphabetical order):


Gerhard Banik (AU), Maria Bedynski (CA), Maja Bollebakker (NL), A.T.Bouwman (NL), Gerrit de Bruin (NL), Walter Castelijns (NL), Wendy Cowan (USA), Dudley Creagh (Australia), Erik van der Doe (NL), Femke den Dubbelden-Coevert (NL), Elmer Eusman (USA), Sabine Fleischer (NL), Sherry Guild (CA), Robien van Gulik (NL), Oliver Hahn (DE), Ulrike Hähner (DE), Peter Hallebeek (NL), Christa Hofmann (AU), Enke Huhsman (DE), Ineke Joosten (NL), Gesa Kolbe (AU), Cyntia Karnes (USA), Edwin Klijn (NL), Alana Lee (Australia), Frank Ligterink (NL), Norbert Ligterink (NL), Wolfgang Malzer (DE), Han Neevel (NL), Valeria Orlandini (USA), Roberta Partridge (CA), Jose Luiz Pedersoli (BR), Nel Perdok (NL), Claire Phan Tan Luu (NL), Erna Pilch-Karrer (AU), Henk J. Porck (NL), Birgit Reissland (NL), Véronique Quillet Rouchon (FR), Céline Remazeilles (FR), Karin Scheper (NL), Manfred Schreiner (AU), Manfred Sellink (NL), Ted Steemers (NL), Ad Stijnman (NL), Martin Strebel (CH), Jack C. Thompson (USA), Season Tse (CA), Kyla Ubbink (CA), Dominic Wall (UK), Caroline Whitley (Australia), Max Wilke (DE), Helen Wilson (UK), Paula Witkamp (NL), all participants of the “Iron Gall Ink Workshop's” that were given all over the world, and all individuals that might be not mentioned here but supported this website ...


For many years the Iron Gall Ink Website was generously hosted by the European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA). From 2011, with financial support of Bureau Metamorfoze, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) has the honour to present to you the Iron Gall Ink Website.



Birgit Reissland and Frank Ligterink

Amsterdam, 13 februari 2011