The Info List - Western Calligraphy

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Western calligraphy
Western calligraphy
is the art of writing and penmanship as practiced in the Western world, especially using the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
(but also including calligraphic use of the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets, as opposed to "Eastern" traditions such as Turko-Perso-Arabic, Chinese or Indian calligraphy). A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner."[1] The story of writing is one of aesthetic development framed within the technical skills, transmission speed(s) and material limitations of a person, time and place.[2] A style of writing is described as a script, hand or alphabet.[3] Calligraphy
ranges from functional hand-lettered inscriptions and designs to fine art pieces where the abstract expression of the handwritten mark may or may not supersede the legibility of the letters.[4] Classical calligraphy differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may create all of these; characters are historically disciplined yet fluid and spontaneous, improvised at the moment of writing.[5] Calligraphic writing continued to play a role long after the introduction of the printing press in the West, official documents being drawn up in engrossed or handwritten form well into the 18th century. A revival of calligraphy in the later 19th century was associated with the Art
Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements, and it continues to be practiced, typically commissioned for private purposes such as wedding invitations, logo design, memorial documents, etc.[6]


1 History

1.1 Late Antiquity 1.2 Early Middle Ages 1.3 Later Middle Ages 1.4 Early Modern era 1.5 Modern revival 1.6 20th century

2 Calligraphy
today 3 Other sub-styles 4 Bibliography 5 References 6 External links

History[edit] Further information: History of the alphabet
History of the alphabet
and Latin alphabet Late Antiquity[edit]

Page of the Virgilius Romanus
Virgilius Romanus
(5th century)

Further information: Uncial script
Uncial script
and Rustic capitals The rolls of papyrus used in classical antiquity (the biblia or librī) in Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
were gradually replaced by the codex. Reed pens were replaced by quill pens.[7] Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville
explained the then-current relation between codex, liber ("book") and volumen ("scroll") in his Etymologiae

multorum librorum est; liber unius voluminis. Et dictus codex per translationem a codicibus arborum seu vitium, quasi caudex, quod ex se multitudinem librorum quasi ramorum contineat. "A codex is composed of many books; a book is of one scroll. It is called codex by way of metaphor from the trunks of trees or vines, as if it were a wooden stock (caudex), because it contains in itself a multitude of books, as it were of branches."

A tradition of biblical manuscripts in codex form goes back to the 2nd century ( Codex
Vaticanus), and from about the 5th century, two distinct styles of writing known as uncial and half-uncial (from the Latin "uncia," or "inch") developed from various Roman bookhands.[8] Early Middle Ages[edit] Further information: Merovingian script, Carolingian minuscule, and Insular script

Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels
Lindisfarne Gospels
(c.700) contains the incipit from the Gospel of Matthew.

With the onset of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
from about the 7th century, literacy in Latin Europe was increasingly limited to the monasteries. The tradition of illumination has its origins in Late Antiquity, and reaches early medieval Europe in about the 8th century, notable early examples including the Book of Durrow, Lindisfarne Gospels
Lindisfarne Gospels
and the Book of Kells.[9] Charlemagne's devotion to improved scholarship resulted in the recruiting of "a crowd of scribes", according to Alcuin, the Abbot of York.[10] Alcuin
developed the style known as the Caroline or Carolingian minuscule. The first manuscript in this hand was the Godescalc Evangelistary (finished 783) — a Gospel book written by the scribe Godescalc.[11] Carolingian remains the one progenitor hand from which modern booktype descends.[12] Later Middle Ages[edit]

in a Vulgate
of AD 1407 on display in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, England. The Bible was hand written in Belgium, by Gerard Brils, for reading aloud in a monastery.

Further information: Blackletter, Rotunda (script), Chancery hand, and Court hand Blackletter
(also known as Gothic) and its variation Rotunda, gradually developed from the Carolingian hand during the 12th century. Over the next three centuries, the scribes in northern Europe used an ever more compressed and spiky form of Gothic. Those in Italy and Spain preferred the rounder but still heavy-looking Rotunda. During the 15th century, Italian scribes returned to the Roman and Carolingian models of writing and designed the Italic hand, also called Chancery cursive, and Roman bookhand. These three hands — Gothic, Italic, and Roman bookhand — became the models for printed letters. Johannes Gutenberg
Johannes Gutenberg
used Gothic to print his famous Bible, but the lighter-weight Italic and Roman bookhand have since become the standard. During the Middle Ages, hundreds of thousands of manuscripts were produced:[13] some illuminated with gold and fine painting, some illustrated with line drawings, and some just textbooks.[14] Towards the end of the Middle Ages, administration in the states of Western Europe became more centralised. Paper was again widely available in Europe, which allowed a bureaucracy with standardized bookkeeping. In late medieval England, this led to the development of the Chancery Standard of Late Middle English, along with new forms of standardised calligraphy used for the production of legal or official documents. By the mid-15th century, Chancery Standard was used for most official purposes except by the Church, which still used Latin, and for some legal purposes, for which Law French
Law French
and some Latin were used. It was disseminated around England
by bureaucrats on official business and slowly gained prestige. The production of finalized, calligraphic copies of documents in Chancery hand
Chancery hand
came to be known as "engrossing", from Anglo-French engrosser (Old French en gros "in large (letters)"). In the late 1490s and early 1500s, the early printer Richard Pynson favored Chancery Standard in his published works, and consequently pushed the English spelling further towards standardization. Early Modern era[edit] Further information: Chancery hand, Italic script, Round hand, Bastarda, and Humanist minuscule

Page of initials from Stephanus Hayn's notebook (1775)

In the mid-1600s French officials, flooded with documents written in various hands and varied levels of skill, complained that many such documents were beyond their ability to decipher. The Office of the Financier thereupon restricted all legal documents to three hands, namely the Coulee, the Rhonde, (known as Round hand
Round hand
in English) and a Speed Hand sometimes simply called the Bastarda.[15] While there were many great French masters at the time, the most influential in proposing these hands was Louis Barbedor, who published Les Ecritures Financière Et Italienne Bastarde Dans Leur Naturel circa 1650.[15] With the destruction of the Camera Apostolica during the sack of Rome (1527), the capitol for writing masters moved to Southern France. By 1600, the Italic Cursiva began to be replaced by a technological refinement, the Italic Chancery Circumflessa, which in turn fathered the Rhonde and later English Roundhand.[15] In England, Ayres and Banson popularized the Round Hand while Snell is noted for his reaction to them, and warnings of restraint and proportionality. Still Edward Crocker began publishing his copybooks 40 years before the aforementioned.[15] Modern revival[edit]

Edward Johnston, founder of modern calligraphy, at work in 1902.

After printing became ubiquitous from the 15th century, the production of illuminated manuscripts began to decline.[16] However, the rise of printing did not mean the end of calligraphy.[17] The modern revival of calligraphy began at the end of the 19th century, influenced by the aesthetics and philosophy of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. Edward Johnston
Edward Johnston
is regarded as being the father of modern calligraphy.[18][19][20] After studying published copies of manuscripts by architect William Harrison Cowlishaw, he was introduced to William Lethaby
William Lethaby
in 1898, principal of the Central School of Arts and Crafts, who advised him to study manuscripts at the British Museum.[21] This triggered Johnston's interest in the art of calligraphy with the use of a broad edged pen. He began a teaching course in calligraphy at the Central School in Southampton Row, London from September 1899, where he influenced the typeface designer and sculptor Eric Gill. He was commissioned by Frank Pick
Frank Pick
to design a new typeface for London Underground, still used today (with minor modifications).[22] He has been credited for reviving the art of modern penmanship and lettering single-handedly through his books and teachings - his handbook on the subject, Writing
& Illuminating, & Lettering (1906) was particularly influential on a generation of British typographers and calligraphers, including Graily Hewitt, Stanley Morison, Eric Gill
Eric Gill
and Anna Simons. Johnston also devised the simply crafted round calligraphic handwriting style, written with a broad pen, known today as the Foundational hand, although Johnston never used the terms "Foundational" or "Foundational Hand". Johnston initially taught his students an uncial hand using a flat pen angle, but later taught his hand using a slanted pen angle.[23] He first referred to this hand as "Foundational Hand" in his 1909 publication, Manuscript & Inscription Letters for Schools and Classes and for the Use of Craftsmen.[24] 20th century[edit] Graily Hewitt
Graily Hewitt
taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts
Central School of Arts and Crafts
and published together with Johnston throughout the early part of the century. Hewitt was central to the revival of gilding in calligraphy, and his prolific output on type design also appeared between 1915 and 1943. He is attributed with the revival of gilding with gesso and gold leaf on vellum. Hewitt helped to found the Society of Scribes & Illuminators (SSI) in 1921, probably the world's foremost calligraphy society.

An example of Graily Hewitt's calligraphy.

Hewitt is not without both critics[25] and supporters[26] in his rendering of Cennino Cennini's medieval gesso recipes.[27] Donald Jackson, a British calligrapher, has sourced his gesso recipes from earlier centuries a number of which are not presently in English translation.[28] Graily Hewitt
Graily Hewitt
created the patent announcing the award to Prince Philip of the title of Duke of Edinburgh on November 19, 1947, the day before his marriage to Queen Elizabeth.[29] Johnston’s pupil, Anna Simons, was instrumental in sparking off interest in calligraphy in Germany with her German translation of Writing
and Illuminating, and Lettering in 1910.[18] Austrian Rudolf Larisch, a teacher of lettering at the Vienna School of Art, published six lettering books that greatly influenced German-speaking calligraphers. Because German-speaking countries had not abandoned the Gothic hand in printing, Gothic also had a powerful effect on their styles. Rudolf Koch
Rudolf Koch
was a friend and younger contemporary of Larisch. Koch's books, type designs, and teaching made him one of the most influential calligraphers of the 20th century in northern Europe and later in the U.S. Larisch and Koch taught and inspired many European calligraphers, notably Karlgeorg Hoefer, and Hermann Zapf.[30] Calligraphy

Modern western calligraphy (Denis Brown, 2006)

of the German word Urkunde ("deed, certificate"; Manuel Strehl, 2004)

today finds diverse applications. These include graphic design, logo design, type design, paintings, scholarship, maps, menus, greeting cards, invitations, legal documents, diplomas, cut stone inscriptions, memorial documents, props and moving images for film and television, business cards, and handmade presentations. Many calligraphers make their livelihood in the addressing of envelopes and invitations for public and private events including wedding stationery. Entry points exist for both children and adults via classes and instruction books. The scope of the calligraphic art is more than pure antiquarian interest.[31] Johnston's legacy remains pivotal to the ambitions of perhaps most Western calligraphers:

“It is possible even now to go back to the child's - something like the early calligrapher's - point of view, and this is the only healthy one for any fine beginning: to this nothing can be added; all Rules must give way to Truth and Freedom.”[32]

The multimillion-dollar Saint John's Bible project for the 21st century, completed in 2011, had engaged Donald Jackson with an international scriptorium. It is designed as a 21st-century illuminated Bible, executed with both ancient and modern tools and techniques. The earlier 20th-century "Bulley Bible" was executed by a student of Edward Johnston's, Edward Bulley.[33] The digital era has facilitated the creation and dissemination of thousands of new and historically styled fonts. Calligraphy
gives unique expression to every individual letterform within a design layout which is not the strength of typeface technologies no matter their sophistication.[34] The usefulness of the digital medium to the calligrapher is not limited to the computer layout of the new Saint John's Bible prior to working by hand.[35] Writing
directly in the digital medium is facilitated via graphics tablets (e.g. Wacom and Toshiba) and is expected to grow in use with the introduction of Microsoft
Windows Vista
Windows Vista
operating system ("Vista Pen Flicks") in 2007. Apple Inc.
Apple Inc.
introduced a similar "shorthand" facility in their Tiger operating system in 2005. Graphics tablets facilitate calligraphic design work more than large size art pieces.[36] The internet supports a number of online communities of calligraphers and hand lettering artists. Other sub-styles[edit]

Other Western sub-styles and their respective century of appearance:

Rustic capitals
Rustic capitals
(6th BC) Roman cursive
Roman cursive
(6th BC) Roman square capitals
Roman square capitals
(6th BC) Uncial script
Uncial script
(2nd) Carolingian script
Carolingian script
(7th) Beneventan script
Beneventan script
(8th) Visigothic script
Visigothic script
(9th) Gothic script (10th) Chancery hand
Chancery hand
(13th) Textura script (or Gutenberg script) (15th) Antiqua script
Antiqua script
(16th) English script (calligraphy) (18th)


Alexander, J.J.G., Marrow, J.H., & Sandler, L.F. with Moodey, E., & Petev, T.T. (2005) The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York
Public Library. New York
Public Library/ Harvey Miller Publishers Backhouse, J. (1981) The Lindisfarne Gospels. Phaidon Press Baines, P., & Dixon, C. (2003) Signs: lettering in the environment. Lawrence King Publishing Bickham, G. (1743) The Universal Penman London. 1954 ed. Dover, New York Bloem, M., & Browne, M. (2002) Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith. Craig Potton Publishing Bose, S., & Jalal, A. (2003) Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy. Routledge, p. 36 British Library (2007). Collect Britain. Retrieved 22 February 2007. Brown, M.P. & Lovett, P. (1999) The Historical Source Book for Scribes. British Library Calderhead, C. (2005) Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John's Bible. Liturgical Press Cardozo Kindersley, L.L. (2007) The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop. Retrieved 15 April 2007. Child, H. (1988) Calligraphy
Today: Twentieth Century Tradition & Practice. Studio Books Child, H. ed. (1986) The Calligrapher's Handbook. Taplinger Publishing Co. Child, H. (1976) Calligraphy
Today: A Survey of Tradition and Trends. Cassell & Collier Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Child, H. (1963) Calligraphy
Today: A Survey of Tradition and Trends. Watson-Guptill Publications Cinamon, G. (2000) Rudolf Koch: Letterer, Type Designer, Teacher. Oak Knoll Press Cockerell, S. (1945) from "Tributes to Edward Johnston" in Child, H. & Howes, J. ed.s (1986) Lessons in Formal Writing, pp. 21–30. Daniels, P.T & Bright, W. (1996) The World's Writing
Systems. Oxford University Press de Hamel, C. (2001a) The Book: A History of the Bible. Phaidon Press de Hamel, C (2001b) The British Library Guide to Manuscript Illumination. British Library de Hamel, C. (1994) A History of Illuminated Manuscripts. Phaidon Press de Hamel, C. (1992) Scribes and Illuminators. University of Toronto Press Diringer, D. (1968) The Alphabet: A Key to the History of Mankind 3rd Ed. Volume 1 Hutchinson & Co. London Fraser, M., & Kwiatowski, W. (2006) Ink and Gold: Islamic Calligraphy. Sam Fogg Ltd. London Gaur, A. (2000) Literacy and the Politics of Writing. Intellect Books, p. 98 Geddes, A., & Dion, C. (2004) Miracle: a celebration of new life. Photogenique Publishers Auckland. Gilderdale, P. (2006) "What's in a grip? A study of historical pen holds", Letter Arts Review 21(1): 10-27. Gilderdale, P. (1999) "The Great Copperplate Myth", Letter Arts Review 15(1): 38-47. Gray, N. (1986) A History of Lettering: Creative Experiment and Letter Identity. Godine Gray, N. (1971) Lettering as Drawing: Part I The Moving Line. 1982 Ed. Taplinger Publishing C. New York Green, R. (2003). Bulley Bible (1969–83). Retrieved 28 October 2006. Harris, D. (1991) Calligraphy: Inspiration, Innovation, Communication. Anaya, London. Henning, W.E. (2002) An elegant hand: the golden age of American penmanship and calligraphy ed. Melzer, P. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, Delaware Herringham, C.J. (transl. 1899) The Book of the Art
of Cennino Cennini, an English translation from the Italian Hewitt, W.G. (1944–1953). Letters of William Graily Hewitt
Graily Hewitt
to Sidney Feinberg. Retrieved 15 April 2007. Hewitt, G. (1930) Lettering: For Students & Craftsmen. Pentalic 1976 ed. International Typeface
Corporation (1982) International Calligraphy Today. Watson-Guptill Publ. New York Jackson, D. (1981) The Story of Writing. The Calligraphy
Centre Johnston, E. (1906) Writing, Illuminating & Lettering. Dover Publication 1995 ed. Johnston, E. (1909) Manuscript & Inscription Letters: For schools and classes and for the use of craftsmen, plate 6. San Vito Press & Double Elephant Press, 10th Impression Kapr, A. (1991) " Calligraphy
91" in Schreibwerkstaat Klingspor Offenbach Kerr, D.J. (2006) Amassing Treasures for All Times: Sir George Grey, Colonial Bookman and Collector. University of Otago Press/Oak Knoll Press Knight, S. (1998) Historical Scripts: From Classical Times to the Renaissance. Oak Knoll Press Knight, S. "The Roman Alphabet" in The World's Writing
Systems (supra), pp. 312–332. Lamb, C.M. ed. (1956) Calligrapher's Handbook. Pentalic 1976 ed. Letter Arts Review Luthra, H.L () A Text Book of General Studies Vol II., p. 63 Mediavilla, C. (1996) Calligraphy. Scirpus Publications Mitter, P. (2001) Indian Art. Oxford University Press, p. 100 Morris, W. (1882) From "Making the Best of It" in Hopes and Fears for Art. 2006 ed. Hard Press Neugebauer, F. (1979) The Mystic Art
of Written Forms Pearce, C. (1981 and 2007) The Little Manual of Calligraphy
- Paper and Ink Arts Pearce, C. (1984) The Anatomy of Letters - Taplinger Publishing Prestianni, J. (2001) Calligraphic Type Design in the Digital Age. Gingko Press Pott, G. (2006) Kalligrafie: Intensiv Training Verlag Hermann Schmidt Mainz Pott, G. (2005) Kalligrafie:Erste Hilfe und Schrift-Training mit Muster-Alphabeten Verlag Hermann Schmidt Mainz Propfe, J. (2005) SchreibKunstRaume: Kalligraphie im Raum Callwey Verlag Munich Reaves, M., & Schulte, E. (2006) Brush Lettering: An Instructional Manual in Western Brush Calligraphy
Revised Edition, Design Books New York. Renard, J. (1999) Responses to 101 Questions on Buddhism. Paulist Press. Religion / World, pp 23–24 Thomson, G. (2004) Digital Calligraphy
with Photoshop. Thomson Learning Tresser, J. (2006) The Technique of Raised Gilding
2nd Ed. CD-ROM Trinity College Library Dublin (2006) The Book of Kells
Book of Kells
DVD-ROM. Ver Berkmoes, R. () Bali e Lombok p. 45 Walther, I.F., & Wolf, N. (2005) Masterpieces of Illumination: The world's most beautiful illuminated manuscripts from 400 to 1600. Taschen Whitley, K.P. (2000) The History and Technique of Manuscript Gilding. Oak Knoll Press Wieck, R.S. (1983) Late Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts 1350-1525 in the Houghton Library. Harvard College Library Williams, R.B. (2004) Williams On South Asian Religions And Immigration: Collected Works By Raymond Brady Williams. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., p. 61 Zapf, H. (2007) Alphabet Stories: A Chronicle of Technical Developments Cary Graphic Arts Press Rochester New York Zapf, H. (2006) The world of Alphabets: A kaleidoscope of drawings and letterforms, CD-ROM


^ Mediavilla 1996: 18 ^ Diringer 1968: 441 ^ Fraser & Kwiatkowski 2006; Johnston 1909: Plate 6 ^ Mediavilla 1996 ^ Pott 2006 & 2005; Zapf 2007 & 2006 ^ see for example Letter Arts Review; Propfe 2005; Geddes & Dion 2004 ^ Jackson 1981 ^ Knight 1998: 10 ^ Trinity College Library Dublin 2006; Walther & Wolf 2005; Brown & Lovett 1999: 40; Backhouse 1981 ^ Jackson 1981: 64 ^ Walther & Wolf 2005; de Hamel 1994: 46-48 ^ de Hamel 1994: 46 ^ http://www.collectbritain.co.uk/collections/illuminated/ ^ Kerr 2006; Alexander 2005; de Hamel 2001b & 1992; Wieck 1983 ^ a b c d Joyce Irene Whalley (c. 1980). The Art
of Calligraphy, Western Europe & America.  ^ de Hamel 2001a; de Hamel 1986 ^ Zapf 2007; de Hamel 2001a; Gilderdale 1999; Gray 1971 ^ a b "The Legacy of Edward Johnston". The Edward Johnston Foundation.  ^ Cockerell 1945; Morris 1882 ^ " Font
Designer — Edward Johnston". Linotype GmbH. Retrieved 5 November 2007.  ^ such as the Ramsey Psalter, BL, Harley MS 2904 ^ The Eric Gill
Eric Gill
Society: Associates of the Guild: Edward Johnston ^ Gilderdale 1999 ^ Baines & Dixon 2003: 81 ^ Tresser 2006 ^ Whitley 2000: 90 ^ Herringham 1899 ^ Jackson 1981: 81 ^ Hewitt 1944-1953 ^ Cinamon 2001; Kapr 1991 ^ Zapf 2007; Mediavilla 1996; Child 1988, 1976 & 1963; International Typeface
Corporation 1982 ^ Johnston 1909: contents page ^ Green 2003 ^ Zapf 2007: 76-7; Thomson 2004 versus Prestianni 2001 ^ Calderhead 2005 ^ Thomson 2004

External links[edit]

Kaligrafos - The Dallas Calligraphy
Society, Kaligrafos, a non-profit guild promoting the calligraphic arts Friends of Calligraphy, San Francisco, California New Zealand Calligraphers, a national network of affiliated calligraphy guilds The Edward Johnston
Edward Johnston
Foundation - Research centre for calligraphy and lettering arts

v t e

Types of handwritten European scripts

Ancient and medieval

Roman Rustic Uncial Visigothic Merovingian Carolingian Insular script Beneventan Blackletter Rotunda Bastarda Humanist Greek Early Cyrillic Glagolitic Court hand Gothic


Cursive Chancery Johannine Italic Round Secretary Library D'Nealian Copperplate Spencerian Palmer Kurrent Sütterlin Grundschrift Cyrillic Shorthand Zaner-Bloser

v t e



Canons of page construction Column Even working Margin Page numbering Pagination Pull quote Recto and verso


Alignment Justification Leading River Sentence spacing Widows and orphans



Counter Diacritics Dingbat Glyph Initial Kerning Letter-spacing Ligature Subscript and superscript Swash Text figures Tittle


ALL CAPS Camel case Letter case Petite caps Small caps

Visual distinction

Italics Oblique Bold Color Underline 𝔹𝕝𝕒𝕔𝕜𝕓𝕠𝕒𝕣𝕕 𝕓𝕠𝕝𝕕 𝕭𝖑𝖆𝖈𝖐𝖑𝖊𝖙𝖙𝖊𝖗 Infɑnt

Vertical aspects

Ascender Baseline Cap height Descender Median Overshoot x-height


Roman type

Antiqua (old style) Didone (modern) Sans-serif Script Serif Slab serif Transitional Reverse-contrast


Fraktur Rotunda Schwabacher Textualis

Gaelic type

Insular Uncial


Record type


Dashes Hanging punctuation Hyphen-minus Hyphenation Prime mark Quotation mark


Calligraphy etaoin shrdlu Font

computer monospaced

catalog Letterpress Lorem ipsum Microtypography Movable type Pangram Phototypesetting Punchcutting Type color Type design Typeface Microprint


Typographic units

Agate Cicero Em En Figure space Measure Paren space Pica Point

traditional point-size names

Thin space

Digital typography

Character encoding Font
formats Hinting Rasterization Typesetting
software Typographic features Web typography


Intentionally blank page Style guide Type foundry