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Thaw Conservation Center

Jane Austen's Writing: A Technical Perspective

Read more: Intro | Pens and Ink | Papers | Watermarks | Glossary

Glossary of terms

Colophony Resin – Colophony, from its origin in Colophon, an ancient Ionic city, is now widely referred to as rosin. Rosin is a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components.

Fair copy – A copy of a document made after final correction.

Hot-pressed – A smooth-surfaced paper created by pressing a finished sheet of paper through hot cylinders.

Laid – Paper made on a screen with narrow horizontal bands (laid) and thicker vertical bands (chains) that produce a pattern of thick and thin lines when held up to the light.

Quarto – A quarto is made by folding a sheet of Royal-sized (20 x 25") paper into quarters. The resulting pages will thus measure approximately twelve by nine inches.

Tub-sized – The paper sheet was dipped in a tub or vat of hot sizing and then pressed and dried.

Watermark – Beginning in the thirteenth century, watermarks were made by affixing a thin wire, shaped into the desired form, to the wire mesh of the papermaking screen (mould). When the sheet of paper is formed, the watermarked area is thinner (less dense) than the rest of the sheet because the wires blocked the accumulation of fibrous pulp.

White paper – Papers made from the highest quality white rags, sometimes bleached during the papermaking process. White papers varied in quality from superfine, to fine and coarse.

Wove – Paper that exhibits a pattern of fine mesh when held up to the light.

A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy exhibition page »

Read more: Intro | Pens and Ink | Papers | Watermarks | Glossary


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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.