Quill

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Parakeet feather quill tip

Description

The hard, hollow shaft of a feather that attaches into the skin of the bird. The quill portion of the feather does not have any lateral branches. Quills from ducks, geese, eagles, swans, and other large birds have been used as writing pens and as ferrules for artist brushes. The thickened spines of porcupines or hedgehogs are also called quills. The quills are traditionally filled with squirrel or badger hairs (Pinney 1999).

Synonyms and Related Terms

calamus; quill pen; slagpen (Ned.)

Additional Information

° Zora Sweet Pinney, 'A Handle on the Terms used for Artists' Brushes', unpublished glossary, 1999

Authority

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • A Glossary of Paper Conservation Terms, Margaret Ellis (ed.), Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York City, 1998
  • Zora Sweet Pinney, 'A Handle on the Terms used for Artists' Brushes', unpublished glossary, 1999
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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