One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A light stick with a padded leather ball at one end, held against work by a painter or signwriter to support and steady the brush hand.
- ‘Dutch was widely known in Europe in the 17c, when the first English - Dutch dictionaries appeared and such Dutch-derived artistic terms as easel, etch, landscape, maulstick, sketch were adopted into English.’
- ‘He made his own mahlsticks, and now I do the same with a thin dowel, a scrap of smooth leather and some string and stuffing.’
- ‘But the mahlstick is also evidence of the production of the painting as a physical object.’
- ‘Many artists also used a mahlstick, a long cane with a ball of leather at one end, on which to rest the hand while painting, avoiding the danger of marking slow-drying oil paint.’
- ‘Painted about 1832, it casts Sumner in the romantic pose of an aspiring artist, palette and maulstick at hand, his distant gaze both engaging and poetic as he looks toward unseen worlds.’
Mid 17th century: from Dutch maalstok, from malen ‘to paint’ + stok ‘stick’.
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