Monday, December 27, 2010

Inky Stephens and Pixie O'Harris

Pixie O'Harris was born in Wales in the early 1900s and moved to Australia as a Child. Her surname was actually Harris the O. being her middle initial, but a printers error published her as Pixie O'Harris, a name she then adopted.  She is the Aunt of another famous Aussie artist, one well known Rolf Harris.  Pixie  drew for newspapers, magazines and was a book illustrator, as well as an author, broadcaster, caricaturist and cartoonist, designer of book plates, sheet music covers and stationery, and children's hospital ward fairy-style mural painter.  A life full of drawing and painting, including this advertising blotter.

This interesting blotter in my collection introduces 'Inky' Stephens....
Holidays are over, back to school,
New books, pencil, pen and rule,
Sandwiches, fruit and milk to drink,
And don't forget your Stephens' Ink.

It is quite a rare blotter, as are any Australian ink advertising blotters, and I was lucky enough to purchase a few several years ago. 

One is now in the Library Archive of THE STEPHENS COLLECTION in North London.  The son of the founder of the Stephens Ink Company, Henry Stephens was himself known to his friends as "inky" and his old home is now a Museum showing all aspects of the Stephens family, the inventors of the famous blue-black ink, his son, the  Member of Parliament, the development of the Ink business and the story of writing materials from ancient times.  A very interesting little museum set up in the original Stephens family home.

Many people ask me what does blue-black ink mean?  Is it blue? Is it black? and the answer is that all ink manufacturers were trying to make a permanent ink, one that did not fade away off the page after a few years.  Stephens Blue/Black ink was the first of its kind, it wrote blue on the page, but as it dried, it turned black and was permanent.

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