It’s easy to romanticise the past. We do it all the time. I remember an old college lecturer of mine bemoaning the fact that he had not been born in the 13th century, a period in which he felt he would have been much more at home, with quill in hand no doubt. The reality of the time, poverty, the ravages of illness and the high mortality rate and low life expectancy rarely entered his consciousness.
In the same way the term ‘Regency’ used to describe this latest dark blue ink from the Diamine 150th anniversary series seeks to evoke memories of early 19th century England; a time on the one hand characterised by distinctive, opulent, trends in British architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and culture; and on the other of poverty, inequality and discontent. I therefore imagine that it is the former aspect of this period that this ink seeks to evoke rather than the latter. So let’s see how it does…
Presentation: See my earlier series overview post here.
On Test: Getting the right pen for the right ink isn’t always straightforward. This ink serves as a prime example. My review pen, a vintage Mentmore ‘Auto-Flow’ with a 14k gold nib frankly doesn’t do this ink justice. The reason being it simply lays down too much ink too quickly, while that accentuates well the true dark nature of this ink, it doesn’t allow this ink to fully express itself. Not that this will ever be anything but a dark ink but a slightly drier nib allows a modicum of shading to appear.
The ink is fast drying and well-lubricated and flows easily form the pen. In use I’ve grown to appreciate this ink more than I thought I would on my first impression, it is a darkly delicious adult shade which I imagine being at home in the office or the home. It not being water-resistant is something of a shame, and therefore has to be borne in mind when signing those important documents.
In terms of comparison with others it has a lot of competition from other established blue inks. In the Diamine stables alone it has to contend with two of my favourite blues, namely Sargasso Sea and Majestic Blue. To be honest I’m not sure it has what it takes to replace these, but it does have a darker character and tone than both of these, something akin to the Cult Pens/Diamine collaboration Deep Dark Blue though with a subtle more purple tone. I will continue to enjoy using it.
Summary: I think this ink succeeds in doing what many try to do, that is to evoke another era as we write withe them. That conjuration of a period or style is what helps draw us to these inks in the first place. Regency blue is a wonderful, deep, darkly rich blue. It has lots of character and as I’ve said would be suitable for both business and personal writing. As for alternatives I’m sure one or two of you will bring some to mind and if that’s the case please feel free to leave your comments. After all that’s what makes this interest so fascinating, no?
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