Introduction to the book by the author.
Writing has its origins in ancient art, when the painted images found on the walls of caves gradually turned into the patterns of symbols used in Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Then, in around 2,000BC in Greece, these symbols became legible script, which the ancient Mediterranean civilisations then turned into an art form. The Romans, in particular, were responsible for this and as the armies of Rome spread, so too did their language and culture, which were absorbed and adapted by the local populations.
In fact, all the major cultural and religious movements from ancient times right up to the 20th century contributed to the development of calligraphy. First came Christianity, which in the first millennium was the basis for a wealth of magnificent Bibles and other religious writings. The Lindisfarne Gospels, the Book of Kells and the Ramsey Psalter came out of the monasteries of Britain and Ireland and were instrumental in the development of the different hands, such as uncials and Caroline minuscule.
During the medieval period, the gothic hand emerged, which matched the angular shape of the architecture of the time, and as the first printing presses were developed by Gutenberg, so this hand was used as the basis for the first woodblock type. Later, the Renaissance saw the creation of the italic hand, which allowed letters to be written more quickly and joined together.
As technology moved on, so too did the demand for printed material. Copperplate, created by incising sheets of copper with a pointed tool, replaced woodblock type, and the quill became almost obsolete. But towards the end of the 19th century, William Morris started the Arts and Crafts movement, aimed at reviving traditional skills. This led to Edward Johnston's study of medieval manuscripts in the British Library and his rediscovery of the broad-edged pen, which brought about the revival of the craft of calligraphy Johnston's study of the Ramsey Psalter was the inspiration for the development of his Foundational hand, based on a circle and a vertical straight line.
In this book you will find out how to create many of the hands mentioned above, from the 2,000-year-old Roman capitals to Edward Johnston's Foundational hand, as well as the materials and techniques you will need to successfully create the art of beautiful writing.
1st edition 2005, Pb, 64pp, full colour thoughout, 19.5 x 26.5 cm