VAN DEN VELDE (Jan), Manuscript, c.1598. (added : May 2020)
A manuscript from the young master, a few years after he won 3rd prize at the “Prix de la Plume Couronnée” (he was 29 at this point). These page give a nice view of the master’s talent before he published his first books.
ANON, Off hand portraits, date unknown.
Manuscript containing a series of off-hand portraits in the ornamental style of the late 17th century in France.
ANON, Manuscript, 1709.
This manuscript is kept in a French library, which means it could have been made in France. Written in German Kurrentschrift.
Netherlands (Low Countries) :
VANDEN STEENE (Erasmus), Untitled book containing calligraphy models, c. 1676.
Vanden Steene was a writing teacher in Ghent. Models inspired by the works of early 17th century Dutch masters (like Velde), in gothic cursive and French Batarde. Some pages are taken from his Tresoor (1687).
VANDEN STEENE (Erasmus), Tresoor van diverssche curieuse gheschriften met haere fondamenten, 1687. (Link to an other copy)
The works of a master very inspired by French copybooks. The models mainly show his interpretation of the French ‘Italienne Batarde’ (post 1633)
Netherlands (Low Countries) :
BOISSENS (Cornelis), Groote ende kleine capitalen tot dienst der penn’constlievende, c.1594-1610.
A small book of Gothic capitals.
Van der LAECH (Willem), Exemplaer boeck, 1643.
Van der Laegh was the only specialized script engraver still working in the 1650s in the Republic. He worked for Jean de la Chambre, among others. This was written and engraved by the author, in Amsterdam.
Van der LAECH (Willem), Exemplaer van verscheyde schriften… Vol. 1, 1644.
Is this part of a pair with the previous book (1643) ?
HEUVELMAN (Johannes), Stichtich ABC tot nut der jeucht geschreven, 1659.
Heuvelman was an important and well-known calligrapher, whose name invoked a high standard of calligraphy practice in the early 18th century.
Only two pages. Each page consists of “slips” meant to be cut and copied one by one. There should have been at least 26 slips (one for each letter of the alphabet).
HEUVELMAN (Johannes), Exemplaarboek, c.1660.
Is this the “Kleyn exempel-boeck” cited in the master’s library inventory ?
DUVAL (Nicolas), Le Livre d’écriture & d’Orthographe, 1670.
Containing rules for spelling and writing models.
LANGFORD (Robert), The beauties of Penmanship illustrated in a variety of examples…, 1797.
Langford’s largest copybook, inspired by the works of Tomkins and Champion.
Collection of French writing masters’ plates, c. 1725-1779.
This is a collection of many French copybook plates, some I haven’t seen in other books referenced here. The masters’ names include : Rossignol, Le Boeuf, Alais, Duval, Lesgret, Barbedor, Liverloz, Roland, Senault, Paillasson. The original books were published in the 17th and 18th century. One page from the Universal Penman, by Champion.
TRESSE (l’aîné), Fables moralisées en quatrins, 18th century.
According to the title page, Tresse was a teacher of writing and mathematic in Paris. This book includes drills and basic principles as well as writing models.
DA CARPI (Ugo), Thesauro de scrittori, 1535.
Ugo Da Carpi was a Roman printmaker, known for his works in woodblock printing. He had engraved Arrighi’s Operina and later printed his own version including the second part Il modo…
This book is described as an anthology of foereign alphabets, “extracted from celebrated authors”, including Fanti, Arrighi and Tagliente. There were various editions of this book, not all containing the same models.
SCALZINI (Marcello, “Il Camerino”), Varie e diverse maniere di lettere cancelleresche, correnti, formate et formatelle, c. 1575.
A manuscript copybook kept in the Vatican Library. This was judged “a mediocre performance” by James Wardrop (who participated in the revival of the Chancery in England). I will note that Scalzini was just 19 at the time. In any case, this gives us an opportunity to see the difference between handwritten and engraved models.
DA MONTE REGALE (Conretto), Vn novo et facil modo d’imparar’ a scriuere, 1576.
Conretto was a writing master and teacher of arithmetic and geometry. His models are similar to Cresci’s, but he was less talented.
CRESCI (Francesco), Il Perfetto Cancellaresco Corsivo, 1579.
The third part of Cresci’s works. No fancy borders this time, but some very cursive examples of his “cancellaresca moderna”.
CURIONE (Ludovico), Il Cancelliere…, 1582.
Curione was with Scalzini, seen as a rival of Cresci. Their works were the most important contemporary influences in Italy, the Netherlands and in France, in the last two decades of the 16th century. In this book printed from engraved copperplates, you will see some beautiful examples of the cursive chancery hand. Curione published his 4 books in a weird order, he had them all ready in 1582 but probably couldn’t afford all publications at once. This is n°4 (see title page).
GAGLIARDELLI (Salvadore), Soprascritte, 1583.
Gagliardelli was a pupil of Cresci. This is a guide to the correct way of addressing correspondence : using the correct abbreviations and wording was important. Adding a few flourishes on the address was a way of attracting the addresse’s attention. Each of the ‘soprascritte’ (267 of them !) is written using the Chancery cursive. This book shows the degreee of specialization some scribes developped at the time, clearly Gagliardelli paid a lot of attention to ‘first impressions’.
VEROVIO (Simone), Essemplare di XIIII lingue principalissime, 1587.
Simone Verovio originated in the XVII provinces (now Netherlands and Belgium), and had come to Rome to flee war and find success. He was a papal chancery scribe who also had a print shop and edited books of music and writing books. The engraving was done by Martin Van Buyten (a fellow Dutch), who was one of the best letter engravers (in copper) of his time. Like many of his compatriots, he went to Italy where he engraved for several great masters such as Curione. This is a single sheet showing various styles of writing in 14 languages. The printer, Nicolas van Aelst (also named on the plate) was also of Dutch origins, exiled in Italy. Both worked in Rome.
VEROVIO (Simone), Il Primo Libro Delli Essempi, 1587.
This is one of Verovio’s writing books. It contains sample sentences for use in letters and other written communication. All plates are written in the cursive chancery inspired by Cresci’s innovations, includes some flourished ornamentation. Engraving by Martin Van Buyten. Verovio also published a few books of music sheets, where you will see other samples of his writing (here).
CURIONE (Ludovico), Il teatro delle cancellaresche, 1593. (additional pages)
N°3 of Curione’s 4 books, and the last to be published.
BLANCO (Cristoforo), several broadsides, 1598. One – Two – Three – Four
These are large sheets of paper printed on one side, use as specimen sheets showing various writing hands. In this case, the Chancery hand is dominant. Cristoforo Blanco was a letter engraver working in Rome. These sheets may have been used to show sample of his work.
Various works at the Newberry Library, Calligraphy samples for the study of Italian paleography, 15th-17th century.
On this page, you will find a series of handwritten books filled with samples of calligraphy. All are interesting in their own way, some look more professional than others. This collection shows the evolution of the Chancery in Italy during the Renaissance and Early Modern period.
Low Countries :
SILVIUS (Willem), Variarum Scripturarum Exempla, c.1550.
A small manuscript copybook that served as Silvius’ personal writing book when he was a writing master in Louvain. He probably used it to attract customers. In 1562, Silvius was active as printer, he requested and was granted a privilege allowing him to publish this work in print. However, no printed copies are known today, the project may have never been completed. This book contains a large array of writing styles, including all the hands useful in the Low Countries at the time… Mutliple hands in various languages, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Latin, all written in the appropriate national hands, as well as samples in Hebrew and Greek.
HOUTHUSIUS (Jakob), Exemplaria Sive Formvlæ, 1591. (Link to another copy)
Another beautiful copybook. The structure and format are inspired by Perret’s Exercitatio, as is the title plate with its ornate border. It contains exemples of writing in multiple European languages and writing styles.
GIERONIMI (Rocco), Vaghe et varie inuentioni di caratteri di lettere cancellare. Libro primo, 1602.
This book displays models of the modern Cancellaresca (Cresci’s cursive version). The writing itself is of interest, although the execution is not always the best. Some examples are very ornate, with off-hand pictural flourishes, as well as on-hand flourishes. Engraved by Christoforo Paulini. The author and engraver were both Venetians.
SENAULT (Louis), Nouueau liure d’escriture ronde et bastarde comme on la pratique, c.1672.
Written and engraved by Senault, in Paris. Dedicated to the Duke of Chartres.
SENAULT (Louis), Les rares Escritures financieres et Italiennes bastardes, c.1669-1693.
Another beautiful book engraved and written by Senault. Including some simpler models of the French “commercial hand” and models of the Ronde. A few pages are presented in a more practical way : the page is printed horizontally, which make it easier to have the book on the desk while writing.
SENAULT (Louis), Heures Nouvelles tirées de la Sainte Ecriture, c.1680.
Not a copybook, but a pretty little book of prayers written and engraved by Louis Senault.
SENAULT (Louis), La beauté de l’Escriture…, 1681.
Written and engraved by Senault. Includes a demonstration of the Italienne Batarde with explanations as well a models for the French hands. It was really difficult and time consuming to print both text (printed on a letterpress) and images (printed on a roller press) on the same page and publishers would usually avoid it, but here Senault shows that he masters this technique.
SCHMIDT (Johann Baptista), Kurtze Fürweisung der gebreuchlichsten deutsch. und lateinischen schriffte, 1621 ?
In this manuscript book, you’ll find a majority of Gothic hands. A few pages show Romans and cursive Cancellaresca (end).
(New link for) CASANOVA (Jose de), Primera Parte del arte de escrivir..., 1650.
Casanova displays a variety of hands in this book, but the examples that I find most striking are those demonstrating the Italic script (cancellaresca formata). Casanova also dedicated a lot of plates to the Bastarda, with some very pretty lowercase variations.
PALOMARES (Francisco Xavier de Santiago), Arte de Escribir, 1789.
Palomares gives a full course on how to write the Spanish hand, beginning with the parts of letters and ending with full pages to copy.
Low Countries :
BOERS (Bastiaan) & BOERS (Maarten), Album with calligraphic examples, c.1660.
An example of the Dutch round hand that Perling came to master a few years later. Bastiaan Boers was also Schoolmaster in a French School and a glass engraver, Maarten was his son. It is not clear which of the two is responsible for the writing.
WRIGHT (Andrew), Court Hand Restored, 1775.
This is not a copybook, but an instruction manual for how to read the court hand. The English court hand was used in deeds, charters and legal documents but was abandoned and replaced by the Round Hand during the 18th century. It is quite interesting that such a manual was needed in 1775 : some writing masters were still providing models of it in their books.
BECKMAN (Carl), Grunderne Til Skrif-konsten, 1794.
An interesting book, containing a preface expalining the art of writing in Swedish. The plates seem to be directly inspired by French copybooks of this period. Models of French, English, German cursives.
BAURENFEIND (Michael), Der zierlichen Schreib-Kunst…, 1716.
This copybook shows the German hands (Kurrent and Fraktur) in great detail, as well as foreign models, including several variations of the Cancellaresca, the French hands. The second part seems to be giving plenty of technical explanations. Plates illustrating how to cut the quill, draw flourishes and ornate gothic capitals (deconstruction of the different steps) and more models of various writing styles (many plates seem to be copies of foreign copybooks). The third part is another German copybook, by a J.G. VOGEL.
MERKEN (Johann), Liber artificiosus alphabeti maioris, c.1782.
A copybook done by someone who liked ornamentation a lot. It looks like it was also meant as a manual for drawing. The models are for German hands and French hands.
AZNAR DE POLANCO (Juan Claudio), Arte nuevo de escribir, 1719.
Plenty of commentary and a few plates showing the Spanish hands and a few others.
New link for FROSINI (Giovacchino), Nuovo metodo e regole performare un bel carattere all’uso moderno, 1797.
Examples of a hand inspired from the French Ronde and Batarde, that was quite frequent in early 19th century italian copybooks.
Great Britain :
JONES (William), Poikilographia, or various specimens of Ornamental Penmanship comprising twenty-two alphabets, c.1830.
If you are looking for ornamental designs mixing a few different hands on the same page, with extra flourishes… typical of the 19th century style… You will enjoy this book.
WILME (B.P.), A manual of writing and printing characters, both ancient and modern, 1845.
A manual showing and explaining a variety of styles, including an analysis of the English Round hand, with a plate showing precise characteristics of the hand. The title mentions that the manual is meant for architects, engineers, engravers… but not for penmen. So this is more of a lettering manual than a writing manual.
FANTI (Sigismondo), Theorica et pratica de modo scribendi…, 1514.
Fanti was an Italian architect, astrologer, mathematician, and writing-master. This publication was the first illustrated manual on the art of writing, and the first book illustrated with calligraphic models of the alphabet (Roman caps). It provided practical advice on selecting implements, making ink, on the correct way of holding the pen, and on spacing letters.
CRESCI (Francesco), Il Perfetto Scrittore, 1570.
Cresci’s second book, containing more illustrations of his modern Cancellaresca. This is a copy of the first edition, containing copies of a knotted alphabet of capitals printed from copperplates engraved by Andrea Marelli (at the end of the book). While the first part of the book was being carved in woodplates, Cresci realized the potential of copper engraving, which was being introduced for the reproduction of illustrations, and he designed the alphabet as an addition to his book. More info on this subject here.
BAILDON (John) & BEAUCHESNE (Jean de), A booke containing diverse sortes of hands, 1571.
This is the first big copybook of this kind published by an English master in England. Little is known about Baildon, Beauchesne was an exiled French Huguenot, who later published other copybooks in French. The French influence in the composition of the book is very clear (look at the French copybooks of this period). The plates show the various hands in use in England at the time, including the Secretary and court hand, ad well as Roman and italian hands inspired by the works of Cresci.
after ROSSIGNOL, Nouveau Livre d’Ecriture D’apres les plus belles Pieces de ROSSIGNOL Pour l’Instruction de la Jeunesse et la Satisfaction des Curieux, 1744.
The “famous” French master Louis Rossignol never had any of his work engraved, according to Charles Paillasson, who was one of his students. However, two books bearing his name were published after his death. This is the second one, engraved by Hyacinthe Aubin. (more info, in French, here)
ROSSIGNOL (Louis), PECQUET (Pierre), Traité d’Écriture de Rossignol, (c. 1792-1803).
Louis Rossignol (1694-1739) was the most admired French writing master of the 18th century, but he never published his work. Several books came out after his death, engraved from the manuscripts that were collected by his numerous admirers. of course, they weren’t all of good quality and didn’t only contain pages executed by the master… This is one of those books. The plates included here are destined to guide the beginner in his learning of the Ronde, the Bâtarde and the Coulée. Two plates are signe “Pecquet”, the author was probably the writing master Pierre Pecquet, who was active as a writing master after Rossignol’s death (1755- c. 1784). (more info, in French, here)
LAURENT (Gabriel), Les principes de l’écriture, 1816.
Gabriel Laurent was a writing master in Paris from 1771 until his death circa 1822. This publication focuses on the French scripts and ignores the English round hand, which had become the new standard cursive hand in Europe by then. (more info, in French, here)
ANDRE (Anatole), Le livre d’écriture, 1895.
A typical writing manual destined to be used in schools. Interestingly, the models are shown on graph paper guidelines. The style is a mix of Copperplate (lowercases) and ronde-like capitals. The French Ronde is also shown in the models.
Spanish (Argentina) :
SASTRE (Marcos), Metodo Eclectico de escritura Inglesa…, 1886 (Buenos Aires).
This is a manual of exercises for “Copperplate”. The last pages show examples of Gothic and French ronde.
HILL (Thomas Edie), Hill’s manual of social and business forms : a guide to correct witing, 1832-1915.
Similar to Gaskell’s compendium. This book offers instruction on proper writing etiquette as well as some models of American handrwiting systems.
CURIONE (Ludovico), Folder with loose pages, with no title page…, 1593.
Examples of the work of Curione, including a page of manuscript italian hand, although this may not be by the master himself.
VAN SAMBIX (Felix), Untitled manuscript, c.1700.
Examples written by Van Sambix in Delft, for his disciple Pieter Coenrad, several dates are mentionned, between 1607 and 1614.
VAN DEN VELDE (Jan), Schoonschrift van Jan van den Velde, c.1700.
This is a collection of 20 manuscript pages attributed to Velde. However, the quality of the calligraphy does not reflect the best of Velde’s work. The design of the pages also doesn’t look like Velde… However it could be part of his earlier work. I haven’t spotted any signature.
BOERS (Bastiaan), Untitled writing manual, c. end of 17th century.
This book displays examples in a style similar to that of Perling and Komans.
BEAUCHESNE, (Jean de), Specimens of calligraphy, c.1610.
According to the note attached to this bound manuscript : This a copy-book that was written for Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James I. Beauchesne, her writing master, proudly notes in his colophon that he was in his 73rd year when he wrote the book.
ANON, Manuscript, 1600 ?
Bound manuscript pages in the Italian styles of writing.
Specimens of Italian writing and penmanship, 1500-1700.
Manuscript. This is not meant as teaching material, but shows actual specimens of writing that didn’t go through the engraving process.
CURIONE (Lodovico), Il Teatro delle Cancellaresche corsive…, 1609.
Curione’s third book, essentially containing italian hands. (See 16th century for the first one)
ZABARELLI (Ascanio), Il primo libro di Ascanio Zabarelli ornato di lettere corsive…, 1650 ?
This is listed as a manuscript. Contains examples of the Italian hand.
SPADA (Valerio), Libro di diversi caratteri…, 1649-1679.
Scrapbook made up of 35 specimens of calligraphy mounted on 34 leaves, signed for the most part by Spada, and dated from 1649 to 1679.
SPADA (Valerio), Specimens of calligraphy, including initials, ornamented and in gold, various alphabets, borders, etc, 1653-1663.
Manuscript. Scrapbook of 61 mounted specimens, many signed Valerio Spada, and dated from 1653 to 1663 ; one signed Girolamo Spigliati.
BICKHAM (George), The Universal Penman, 1733-1741.
New link to a complete copy !
TOCHTERMANN (Hieronymus), Vorschrift…, 1731-1733.
This seems to be a manuscript, showing examples of German writing in color.
WESSEL (Johan Wilhelm), Sammlung kleiner Vorschriften zum Gebrauch für Lernende, 1790’s.
Examples of calligraphy in the English style followed by examples in Kurrent schrift. Some of the models mix the two styles in a way I haven’t seen elsewhere. The inspiration is certainly drawn from English copybooks.
BERTRAND, Collection de modèles (manuscript), 1813.
A manuscript sample book of a student called Bertrand”, of the Academy in Paris.
FIANI (V.), untitled calligraphy manual, 1839.
Containing examples of the Italian version of the 19th century English Round Hand, including muscular exercices and drills.
SANTERINI (Biagio), Moderna Coltura Calligraphica, 1839.
Containing examples of the Italian version of the 19th century English Round Hand.
DE LANGE (J.), Handleiding tot de Schijfkunst…, 1830’s.
A writing manual almost entirely typographed : only the last three photos are of written examples in the English round hand. The rest of the book gives detailed explanations on how to write, in Dutch.
TOWNDROW (Thomas), Towndrow’s Complete system of penmanship, 1839.
A manual containing pages of repetitive exercices of lowercase letters. The end of the book shows examples of hand lettered (drawn) alphabets as well as round hand capitals.
BECKER (George J.), Becker’s ornamental penmanship, 1854.
Full copy from the Letterform Archive in San Francisco. Stream only.