Watermark Wednesdays: Anchor

Anchor watermark in Isl. Ms. 463 v.2
Watermark with motif of anchor in circle with six-pointed star above in one of the papers of Isl. Ms. 463 v.2

This Wednesday’s watermark comes once again from the Islamic Manuscripts Collection - one of the papers in Isl. Ms. 463 v.2 to be exact. It features an anchor watermark set in a circle with a six-pointed star above. 

The anchor is another motif extremely popular among Italian papermakers of the 16th and 17th centuries, and it appears quite extensively in manuscripts produced in the former Ottoman lands during this period. 

The anchor could be drawn in one line or two and could be accompanied by various motifs - ring, star, flower (or leaf), initials, etc. Among Italian makers, the mark was typically set in a circle and often paired with a countermark featuring the intials of the papermaker.

Briquet, Ancre inscrite dans un cercle, simple trait par tige et bras
Various entries from Briquet Online [1] for anchor watermarks in a single line, inscribed in a circle, and often accompanied by initials.

Vladimir Mošin has filled an entire volume with various types of anchor watermarks for which he established a typology for classification. The mark in Isl. Ms. 463 v.2 corresponds to Mošin's Type It. IV 2.f (a), an Italian mark of an anchor drawn in a single line, encircled, with a six-pointed star above and no countermark. [2] Several other marks of this type are contemporary with the mark in the paper of our manuscript, which dates to roughly1579 or 80.

Mosin, Anchor watermarks, Plates 169-169
A selection of Mošin's Type It. IV 2.f (a) anchor watermarks appearing in 16th century papers, Mošin, Anchor watermarks, PL.168-9

All in all, at least 67 volumes from the Islamic Manuscripts Collection include at least one type of "anchor in circle" watermarked paper, all dating from the mid to late 16th to the early 17th century.

Anchors far and away!


[1] Briquet Online, database accessible at: http://www.ksbm.oeaw.ac.at/_scripts/php/BR.php

[2] See p.49 in Vladimir Mošin, Anchor watermarks, Amsterdam: Paper Publications Society (Labarre Foundation), 1973. [Special Collections - General and Rare | TS 1080 .M82 v.13]

2 Comments

R.M.Healey
on April 25, 1:08pm

I own an Italian engraving of 1544 which bears an anchor and star watermark. Unfortunately, I have yet to identify the engraver, whose monogram is LV. Any ideas ?

Charlie Patton
on Jan. 8, 11:37am

I am researching a document that has a watermark of an upside down anchor in a circle with a six pointed star below it. the letters A C are in the circle.

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