Interesting Inks — Weekly Feature #368

WF368Philatelists pursue some quite arcane byways. One of these is the difficult and often subjective topic of describing and differentiating colours.

This week we offer a clue to the colour ultramarine. It comes from an archival page believed to be from the De La Rue printing firm. It is the top quarter of a ledger page headed “Ordinary Printing Inks” and describes colour no. 217 “Ultra Blue (Tint No. 1)” together with a colour swatch produced more than 100 years ago so that the white lead has become dominant.

The formula for the tint 1 is one pound of white lead ink No. 47 and one ounce of Oriental Blue No. 6.

On the reverse side is “No. 221 Ultra Blue (No.5 Tint)”. For this tint the same inks are used, but the blue has been increased 5 times.

This fascinating document was sold in an auction about a year ago and I could not resist it. We offer this as our weekly feature for $195 CDN. You can see it in our internet shopping cart at this link.