Celebrating calligrapher Brian G. Walker

I have recently discovered the magic of Walker’s Copperplate Ink – and the man behind it.

The late Brian Walker was an experienced penman of many years standing and his daughters are keeping his memory alive with a new website dedicated to his work.

He originally made Walker’s Copperplate Ink, based on a nineteenth century recipe, for his own personal use in Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship.

It is now sold to 38 countries around the world.

Walker's Copperplate Ink
Walker’s Copperplate Ink from Scribblers

Walker’s Copperplate Ink

The iron gall ink is made to conservation standards, in small quantities, by Scribblers, a leading provider of calligraphy supplies and materials.

The company took over the manufacture of Walker’s Copperplate Ink in 2012, with Brian receiving regular samples for testing up until his death in July 2018.

Scribblers owner, Simon Rous, said: “This is definitely ink for the connoisseur and excellent for all pointed pen work, fine italic and line drawing.

“As iron gall ink is chemically based rather than pigment based, its characteristics generally differ from other calligraphy inks.

“The darkening process to a warm black as the ink oxidises on the page is a natural phenomenon.

“It equally produces for the penman the most incredibly fine hairlines unsurpassed by virtually any other type of ink.”

Copperplate with Walker's Copperplate Ink
Writing Copperplate with Walker’s Copperplate Ink

Iron gall ink is also indelible, a major reason why it was made and used extensively throughout history.

It was the most important ink during the whole of the Middle Ages, used in medieval manuscripts and by such famous artists as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.

It was the traditional ink used by master penmen during the American Golden Age of Ornamental Penmanship (circa 1850-1930) and was an essential medium in the copy print process invented by James Watt.

Simon added: “Iron gall ink is now enjoying something of a calligraphic revival, but recipes can vary considerably.”

Brian G. Walker

Brian Walker was known the world over for his work and considered himself to have been ‘largely self-taught, with a little help on the way’.

He was inducted into the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH) in 2003 and added to its Book of Honour in 2019.

Calligrapher and artist Brian Walker

He was also the person responsible for the development of the popular Leonardt EF Principal steel pointed nib, which is used by calligraphers worldwide, and subsequently, his Walker Fine Writer.

His daughters, Nicky, Julie and Sarah, have launched www.briangwalkercalligraphy.com in the hope that their father will continue to inspire the calligraphy community.

It features a detailed biography, tributes and examples of his work, which are also being shared on Instagram @briang.walkercalligrapher.

Nicky, Julie and Sarah are also encouraging people to share their own creations with Walker’s Copperplate Ink by using the hashtag #walkerscopperplateink.

They’ve already, very kindly, shared some of my work.

I feel like I’ve found another little calligraphy community and I’ve certainly found Brian’s legacy inspirational.

It seems fitting that I’ve been using the ink while practising two pointed pen scripts that I’ve learned recently from two friends of Brian – Heather Victoria Held and Joy Daniels.

More on that in my next blog!

*Thank you to Nicky, Julie and Sarah for their help with this blog and for allowing me to use the images of their father and his work.*

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