Well now, that’s a big beast of a pen!
I wish it was mine but it isn’t. It belongs to a very good friend of mine and that’s the next best thing. Swans with No 8 nibs are rare – I can use that word here with certainty – and very impressive indeed. The pen’s owner calls him “Fatty” and I think that’s bang on.
This pen belonged to S T Nash of Cubley, Derby. He was an artist in wood, not especially well known but doing well enough to buy this pen, or perhaps sufficiently well-thought-of to be gifted it. He was responsible for the carving of the Rood Screen at St Andrews Church, Cubley, Derby. That’s all we know. I can find no picture of the Rood Screen. Unfortunately the present incumbent of St Andrews Church has not replied to an inquiry. It surrounds the pen with a faint aura of mystery.
Going back to the pen itself, it measures 14.7 cm capped and is an eyedropper filler. I don’t know whether the wonderful decorated sterling silver cap band was supplied by the Swan factory or if it was added by a jeweller. Broad bands like this were often added to conceal and stabilise a crack in the hard rubber, but that isn’t the case here.
This is a very impressive pen, enhanced by the silver band and the connection with the artist S T Nash. Such things do not often appear in the lifetime of an enthusiast. I am very grateful to my friend for showing it to me and enabling me to share it with you.
My assistant says I can play with that Swan all I want, there’s a more interesting bird out here – one of the feathery, tweeting kind!