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The Meisterstück 149 Calligraphy Appreciation Thread


fpupulin

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Yesterday I made my first visit of the year to my paper supplier here in Costa Rica, one of the few who imports Fabriano products.

 

I found a cream-colored version of the gorgeous Fabriano Unica paper. Its weight of 250 grams makes it unsuitable for everyday writing, but the Unica is a paper that I find almost perfect for calligraphy jobs. The cream colored version is not available in block like the white one, but only in loose sheets of 100 x 70 cm. I bought a couple, and will show you how it works soon.

 

I also found a 200 g paper, supposedly for watercolor, hot press and satin, 25% cotton: Fabriano Studio Watercolor.

 

large.1506663077_FabrianoStudioWatercolor.jpg.2fa94ab2c5180270768c13db373f9010.jpg

 

I bought an 11 "x 14" block, and tried it with the 149 Calligraphy. It is really smooth, and holds the ink well, even if it widens the line slightly with respect to the Unica. I would say that for some work with large letter, with a x-high of a centimeter or more, it should go very well, as its extreme smoothness favors the execution of long curves and flourishing.

 

large.1666149706_Fabrianoatwork.jpg.fac7b8cb92bf678d54d7181d964f20dc.jpg

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After 1 month i could say that 149c is the best fp that i have ever used. I have many fp...omas montblanc aurora..but it is the most enjoyable for me.anyone knows if the gold leaf is it similar?

Thanks

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41 minutes ago, ak47 said:

After 1 month i could say that 149c is the best fp that i have ever used. I have many fp...omas montblanc aurora..but it is the most enjoyable for me.anyone knows if the gold leaf is it similar?

Thanks

 

The Gold Leaf is different. The nib writes a thicker line, and is more stiff than the 149C. The Gold Leaf is, however, likely the best nib I have ever used for everyday writing - but the 149C is more fun to play around with, and also lends itself well to drawing. If I were to choose just one (perish the thought!), it would likely be the Biggie C.  

 

 - P. 

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3 hours ago, ak47 said:

After 1 month i could say that 149c is the best fp that i have ever used. I have many fp...omas montblanc aurora..but it is the most enjoyable for me.anyone knows if the gold leaf is it similar?

Thanks


I am glad that you enjoy your 149 Calligraphy, and I agree that it is one of the best contemporary pen that money can buy.

 

From what I am reading in another thread, the newly released 146 Calligraphy, both in the black resin and the burgundy Solitaire (more expensive) versions, have a extra-fine, flexible nib comparable to that of the 149 Calligraphy. 

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As promised, here is a pic showing the Fabriano Unica “Crema” paper, a warm tone perhaps a bit more chamois than a truly cream. Otherwise, it is splendid for doing a bit of Calligraphy.

 

large.E91C6FE8-A4F7-4860-85DC-5297A9218307.jpeg.df4a2cc81b03f277659e9323f60b6f14.jpeg

 

In the photograph, the “Crema” paper is on the top of the regular white Fabriano Unica, to appreciate the difference in color. The ink is again Rohrer & Klingner Alt Goldgrün and the pen, as it is mandatory for this thread, the 149 Calligraphy.

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Como...

Your calligraphy has improved so much since the the beginning of this thread. Keep it up.

Respectfully,

David

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9 hours ago, NeverTapOut said:

Como...

Your calligraphy has improved so much since the the beginning of this thread. Keep it up.

Respectfully,

David

 

@NeverTapOut Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words! I just hope that you didn't see the calligraphy work right above your post and thought that I did it 😀😀! It's @fpupulin Franco, of course. I am mostly writing alphabets and struggling with inconsistent spacing between letters. I will keep going, and it's been great fun. 

 

16 hours ago, fpupulin said:

As promised, here is a pic showing the Fabriano Unica “Crema” paper, a warm tone perhaps a bit more chamois than a truly cream. Otherwise, it is splendid for doing a bit of Calligraphy.

 

large.E91C6FE8-A4F7-4860-85DC-5297A9218307.jpeg.df4a2cc81b03f277659e9323f60b6f14.jpeg

 

In the photograph, the “Crema” paper is on the top of the regular white Fabriano Unica, to appreciate the difference in color. The ink is again Rohrer & Klingner Alt Goldgrün and the pen, as it is mandatory for this thread, the 149 Calligraphy.

@fpupulin Thank you very much for showing us this Fabriano Unica Crema. The Unica is my favourite for the 149C, so having a different and warm tone colour is a great addition. I will look out for this one to see if I can get it here online locally (already inquired at the local shops and they don't carry).

 

One thing I learned about papers, which others may find obvious but I am a newbie in papers, is that it's better to pay a bit more to buy single sheets to try them out first than buying a whole block when you don't know the paper well. Here we benefit a lot in this thread from Franco, who already tried and could recommend paper that we have not tried, seen or even heard of.

 

Haha, you may laugh but, I finally get why people buy ink samples 😀.

 

Sometimes I read this thread from the beginning again, just to write down the different kinds of ink and paper mentioned and experimented here, and try them if I can. It's a really rewarding and fun experience here. Thank you, Franco and everyone who contributed!!

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One can only repeat that one cannot achieve, even with the best of exercises, what a pen is unable to do. A pen doesn't write well on its own, but there are things that can't be written without the right tool.

 

And one must also remember once again that an excellent pen cannot give its best if it is "fed" with an unsuitable ink, and if the combination of paper and ink makes the qualities of an excellent instrument useless.

 

The great merit of this forum, as como rightly wrote, is the enormous mass of individual experiences, the large number of reviews of papers and inks, which make it less difficult (and less expensive) to find the most suitable combinations for a specific pen, for the styles that you want to experiment, and not from the last for your own tastes.

 

In the following photo I present to you a combination that I find particularly congenial. The pen is the faithful 149 Calligraphy, with the Alt Goldgrün ink by Rohrer & Klingner (of which I like, in addition to the color, the accentuated shading), and the paper is a Fabriano laid, the Ingres White (in Fabriano's jargon, the White is actually an ivory color; if you want true white you have to buy the "Ghiaccio", or Ice, color). This version of Ingres weighs 160 grams, a weight more suitable for some calligraphic work, and is a little smoother than the 90 gram version. It holds the ink perfectly, and allows you to make really fine lines with the nib of the 149 Calligraphy.

 

The "signature" was added with my OMAS Ogiva and its Extra nib, a flexible extra-fine.

 

large.1884318403_Montblanc149CalligraphyTenuipendentiafiloFP(1).jpg.9c4bc2581087daafcf8fa7ce703b56c4.jpg

 

All things human hang by a slender

thread

 

The word "filo" (thread) was written with the nib just resting on the paper, without any pressure, precisely to represent the subtlety and lability of the human condition to which the Latin poet alludes.

 

After having photographed the text of Ovid's sentence in a "documentary" way, I also wanted to create a more evocative image. In the latter the text is less easily read, but the sense of fleetingness and unpredictability of time, evoked by the two watches, seems to me more suggestive.

 

large.183911570_Montblanc149CalligraphyTenuipendentiafiloFP(2).jpg.529274a46199fde40d7bd90b4269e15d.jpg

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In these days, looking at Ranieri Percossi's calligraphy manual (in the third edition, from 1924), I was attracted by a calligraphic model that Percossi calls “Italian Scripture”. It is a cursive and oblique alphabet that the author had to consider of particular relevance, he underlines its importance with because these words:

"Italian Script / This font, in order to be of a simple and elegant shape, tries to make the most important words stand out in a script, therefore it will have to be studied with great care" (Percossi 1924).

 

Not knowing if this writing model was Percossi's invention, I looked for traces of it among the materials available on the net. I found very little, but the model of Italian Scripture was undoubtedly already known and in use for some time, because an almost identified alphabet had been handwritten, about forty years earlier, in a manual for schools prepared by Professor A. Piomarta (sd ), published in Bergamo in two editions (one economic). Although Piomarta's work does not bear a publication date, it is however cited in an attachment to "Il Risveglio Educativo" [1 (43), 1885], where it is listed among the books deposited with the administration of the journal (Anonymous 1885). The writing also appears with the same name in a small and beautiful work by Nicola D'Urso (1905, 1916), a very gifted calligrapher from Salento. For his part, Michele Favaloro, in his Handbook of calligraphy for use in elementary calligraphy classes (Favaloro s.d.), presents a very similar font and calls it "Rotonda inclinata", a variant of the French (bleep).

 

After posting my thoughts on one Italian fountain pen forum, I was informed by a cultured user that this "Italian canonical scripts was in use from the beginning of the 1700s until the unification of Italy (and until then used with a goose quill). After the unit, the so-called English writing prevailed and the Italian one remained only as an alternative writing in the kit of the professors of the subject and written with a metal nib. To see the Italian writings, therefore, one must refer to the manuals between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Almost all the Italian calligraphy manuals of that period exhibit this style because it was the most widespread. The model suggested by Francesco Soave is important because it was adopted in schools throughout Italy, in the two versions formed (for important occasions) and cursive (for every day like the one suggested on ebay). There are many important authors between 7 and 800. I mention the Florentine Giarrè, Savant of Turin, B. Pontilacqua active in Venice and many others".

 

Italian Scripture is, in my opinion, quite an "unnatural" and particularly difficult script. All curves are formed by two or more strokes to be performed separately, lifting the pen, because the shadows are on opposite sides of the curve and can only be achieved by starting the thickened lines of the curve from opposite points, and then making the thin strokes coincide. Really complicated. I admit that, by its very nature, Italian writing had to be done with a thin truncated nib instead of a flexible pointed nib, but the theme of "compound" curves would, in fact, not change.

 

Here I am copying the entire alphabet (including numeric characters) in the Percossi version, for your reference.

 

large.1590770559_Montblanc149CalligraphyPercossisScritturaItalianaFP.jpg.d44c51b028975fa70307c26b786aa915.jpg

 

I tried to write only one line in Italian Scripture and, while admitting that the handwriting has its own grace and "importance", I still found it very difficult to do.

 

large.1544468929_Montblanc149CalligraphyScritturaItalianaatworkFP.jpg.410d602f49b1426928e11647cc184050.jpg

 

I used a Fabriano Ingres Bianca paper (I remember that Bianco, in the Fabriano jargon, is the ivory color, while the true white is called "Ice") of 160 grams, a little smoother than the 90 grams one, which is more suitable for daily writing. The ink is Alt Goldgrün by Rohrer & Klingner.

 

Sources cited

Anonimo. 1885. Libri in deposito presso l’amministrazione del Risveglio. Per la Scuola 43: 312 [allegato a Il Risveglio Educativo 1(43), luglio 1885].
D’Urso, N. 1905 [ed edizioni successive]. Calligrafia moderna, Metodo teorico pratico per apprendere le varie scritture. Terni, Cooperativa.
D’Urso, N. 1916. Calligrafia Moderna. Parte Prima. Torino, G. B. Paravia & C.
Percossi, R. 1924. Calligrafia. Cenno storico, cifre numeriche, materiale adoperato... Terza edizione. Milano, Ulrico Hoepli Editore.
Piomarta, A. s.d. Premiato metodo graduale per l'apprendimento della calligrafia. Modello di scrittura Italiana e Aldina. Bergamo, Poligrafiche.

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I am in awe of your calligraphic skills and wealth of information on the subject.  Thank you for creating this thread as inspiration to those of us who are lucky enough to own these wonderful Montblanc Calligraphy pens.

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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FWIW:

 

Spaniard masters tended to give more detailed descriptions and deal with many different hands (including Spanish (bleep), round, English, Italian, German gothic and others). La Torre (1866) in his "Sistema La Torre. Colección de muestras de letra inglesa", despite the title, provides Italian letters in page 142, where he states that it differs from English hands in having thick lines where English has thin lines and is less parallel. He also advises that to write Capitals the pen should be turned upside down. Chapuli, 1880, in "Muestrario Caligráfico" mentions the (pointed, flexible) pen is held differently for the Italian hand, describes it (the back of the pen should rest in the thumb) and the movements (indicating that some rotations may be useful) saying thick ascenders are obtained by the pressure of the thumb when going upwards.

 

The Italian copybooks I have are not so explanatory. In "Caligrafia Tedesca" (1819) Ponzilacqua compares it to the Italian hand and mentions strokes should all be concatenated. So, it required a different grip and movement, and therefore, when approaching it, one should not do it using the same grip and strokes used in other hands.

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It was February 2020 I walked into a pen shop near my work and asked if they had the 149 Calligraphy, after being told by the Montblanc Boutique I had to put my name on their long waiting list.  To my great surprise the clerk pulled out the last one she had in stock from the back!   So for the last 2 years, out of some 50 fountain pens in my collection, the 149C is by far the most used and has been inked and used every single day for my daily writing and heavy note taking at work. 

 

The responsiveness of the nib amazes me every single day, putting down such a wonderfully wet, juicy, flexy line showing off all the shading and character of whatever ink I use.  The nib responds to every nuance and motion of my handwriting, providing remarkable subtle line variation when I just write normally.  For me the genius of this pen is in the nibs perfect balance between a reliable every day writer and vintage like flex pen.  The nib is not too soft providing enough rigidity to be a practical and reliable every day effortless writer, and soft and snappy enough to rival my vintage Waterman 52V flex pen for flex writing!  It's the absolute best fountain pen I've ever owned.  

 

Franco, your calligraphy is as stunning and beautiful as ever!  This is the first place I come when I revisit the FPN!  :)  

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On 1/29/2022 at 12:14 PM, Sinistral1 said:

I am in awe of your calligraphic skills and wealth of information on the subject.  Thank you for creating this thread as inspiration to those of us who are lucky enough to own these wonderful Montblanc Calligraphy pens.

Sinistral1.  I don't know if you are still experiencing hard starting issues with your 146C, but when I first got my 149C 2 years ago, the tines were quite tight and so when I wrote without any pressure, the line it put down was very faint and at times the ink stopped flowing.  After about a week or two of writing with it every day, the tines opened up and the hard starts went away.  It became perfect on it's own.  I think the MB calligraphy when new has a break in period for the tines to loosen up a little.  That was my experience.  YMMV.

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@max dog - I, too, have been using my 146C every day and am noticing that it is getting easier to flex it's nib.  I also bought samples of the inks recommended by others on this thread and the 146C thread (all except the two Montblanc permanent inks) and some of the papers used as well.  My samples just arrived yesterday and I have been using Rohrer & Klingner Alt Goldgrun, with no skipping or hard starts and very little railroading on Rhodia premium paper.  It will continue to be an exercise in patience and practice!

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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On 1/29/2022 at 2:25 PM, txomsy said:

FWIW:

 

Spaniard masters tended to give more detailed descriptions and deal with many different hands (including Spanish (bleep), round, English, Italian, German gothic and others). La Torre (1866) in his "Sistema La Torre. Colección de muestras de letra inglesa", despite the title, provides Italian letters in page 142, where he states that it differs from English hands in having thick lines where English has thin lines and is less parallel. He also advises that to write Capitals the pen should be turned upside down. Chapuli, 1880, in "Muestrario Caligráfico" mentions the (pointed, flexible) pen is held differently for the Italian hand, describes it (the back of the pen should rest in the thumb) and the movements (indicating that some rotations may be useful) saying thick ascenders are obtained by the pressure of the thumb when going upwards.

 

The Italian copybooks I have are not so explanatory. In "Caligrafia Tedesca" (1819) Ponzilacqua compares it to the Italian hand and mentions strokes should all be concatenated. So, it required a different grip and movement, and therefore, when approaching it, one should not do it using the same grip and strokes used in other hands.

 

txomsy, thank you very much for your information, which is most welcome. I will try finding a copy (electronic would be enough, to begin with) of La Torre's Sistema. I appreciate that the Spanish calligraphers also pointed out the quite "anomalous" way to use the pen requested to properly execute Italian script.

 

I will made a few more exercises, trying to understand the strange grip I should use...

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1 hour ago, max dog said:

It was February 2020 I walked into a pen shop near my work and asked if they had the 149 Calligraphy, after being told by the Montblanc Boutique I had to put my name on their long waiting list.  To my great surprise the clerk pulled out the last one she had in stock from the back!   So for the last 2 years, out of some 50 fountain pens in my collection, the 149C is by far the most used and has been inked and used every single day for my daily writing and heavy note taking at work. 

 

The responsiveness of the nib amazes me every single day, putting down such a wonderfully wet, juicy, flexy line showing off all the shading and character of whatever ink I use.  The nib responds to every nuance and motion of my handwriting, providing remarkable subtle line variation when I just write normally.  For me the genius of this pen is in the nibs perfect balance between a reliable every day writer and vintage like flex pen.  The nib is not too soft providing enough rigidity to be a practical and reliable every day effortless writer, and soft and snappy enough to rival my vintage Waterman 52V flex pen for flex writing!  It's the absolute best fountain pen I've ever owned.  

 

Franco, your calligraphy is as stunning and beautiful as ever!  This is the first place I come when I revisit the FPN!  :)  

 

My pen, max dog, is just a month younger than yours, as I bought her on March 7, 2020. As well as you, I have used my 149 all the days for a lot of different jobs, spanning from calligraphic exercises to annotations of the measures in plants I am studying, to writing miniature labels for plant specimens kept in spirit (with permanent inks). Not only she perfectly behave at any duties, but I can also confirm that she became easier to use with time, more responsive and absolutely more predictable.

 

This is something the new users should believe, as it has been repeated and confirmed by a lot of experienced users. It is really hard finding a pen so funny and capable among what can be bought in the pen market today.

 

And, max dog, thank you for your kind words, as usual! 

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6 hours ago, fpupulin said:

I will try finding a copy

My copies are all electronic.

 

They should be available either in pennavolans.com, the Spanish National Library electronic archive (BNE.es), Google books or archive.org. But I remember having found some Spanish copybooks in other libraries (Gallica.fr, the British Library -which is mostly on Google-, Bodleian and some US, Central and South American, Italian and German electronic libraries I can't remember offhand now).

 

Another useful one may be 1850's, BERTOLLA (Giuseppe), "Corso TeoricoPratico de Calligrafia" where he gives detailed explanations on how to hold the pen for various scripts and some notions of paleography (with samples). Note that some scripts, like rotonda, are shown with an italic nib, not a pointed pen.

 

In 1904, BENEDETTI (Cesare), "La Calligrafia insegnata nelle scuole secondarie", rotonda is also shown with an italic nib page 6. And, in page 18, Italian is shown as written with an italic -not flex- nib.  Interestingly, in 1914, D’URSO (Nicola), "Calligrafia Moderna", the author also suggests that the Italian hand is to be written with an italic nib (page 6).

 

This better agrees with character shapes (and matches the equivalent Spanish hand whose supporters argued was better than English for it could be written and taught effortlessly with an italic nib), and looking at the convergent evolution of Italian and Bast*ardilla, I have always felt that both were intended for italic nibs.

 

Something similar can be said of French Ronde, Bâtarde and Coulée, which were said to be written with italic nibs (and Italian hand too) as well in 1867, GIRAULT (Jules), "Album graphique" (page 35 digital), and in 1830, Sergent,PA "La méthode d'écriture apliquée aux cinq genres", available in Gallica.fr. In one of these (can't remember) there is a sample of a "German" hand which also seems remarkably influenced by English pointed-pen calligraphy (sorry, haven't checked the German copybooks).

 

My guess is that the flex nib requires mastering pressure, while the italic nib yields "character" (line variation) effortlessly; so in these countries, the italic-nib scripts were favored in primary school as the standard script, which led supporters of the English hand and its flourishings to try to also adapt (the hand and the script) to write these "standard" hands, leading to this convergent evolution of the various hands.  In some places, like France, pointed nib seems to have majorly taken over in mid-19thC (though traditional hands were still used), while in others, like Italy it took until late 19thC, and yet in others, like Spain and Germany even more (mid 20thC).

 

But my practice of Phylogeny is at the molecular, not morphological level. I'm absolutely and positively sure if you look at the scripts any opinion you form will be orders of magnitude better founded than any of mine.

 

All this is to say, maybe the 149C/146C is not the best pen to reproduce Italian (or Spanish, German or French) cursive scripts.

 

If you have the minimal trouble finding them (a quick Google search does not show them immediately), I can send you the PDFs. They are all in the public domain now, so no problem (my whole collection amounts to about 12+GB, but individual copybooks are ~5-10MB).

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14 hours ago, fpupulin said:

 

My pen, max dog, is just a month younger than yours, as I bought her on March 7, 2020. As well as you, I have used my 149 all the days for a lot of different jobs, spanning from calligraphic exercises to annotations of the measures in plants I am studying, to writing miniature labels for plant specimens kept in spirit (with permanent inks). Not only she perfectly behave at any duties, but I can also confirm that she became easier to use with time, more responsive and absolutely more predictable.

 

This is something the new users should believe, as it has been repeated and confirmed by a lot of experienced users. It is really hard finding a pen so funny and capable among what can be bought in the pen market today.

 

And, max dog, thank you for your kind words, as usual! 

Hi Franco

Yes, I recall you got your pen around the time I did and we both shared our experiences way back in early 2020, even before you started this awesome thread.  What an incredible and fulfilling journey it's been with this pen hasn't it?  I agree this nib gets better with use.  After a month or so of daily use and TLC, my nib was perfection and did not skip a heart beat, and this perfection continues to this day.  It's amazing, the nib brings a satisfying smile to my face almost every day I use it.  The MB Calligraphy nib is so refined, I think this could be their nib masterpiece, or at least would be one of their top 3 greatest nibs of all time! 

 

I was at the Canadian MB website the other day and to my surprise and happiness I saw the awesome MB Calligraphy flex nib lives on in a slightly different guise in the 146 Legrand!  God forbid if I lose my one and only 149 Calligraphy or I accidentally drop and damage the nib, I don't know what I would do.  I seriously considered getting a second back up 149C for my sanity sakes, but this 146C might be that ticket.  I could have a second MB Calligraphy Flex nib, without having them in two identical pens which would be great.  

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I'm no great calligrapher but I use a Mottishaw spencerian modified Falcon.  Will the MB botique permit visitors to try out a flex/calligraphy nib to see how it compares or is that a major lapsus?

 

I honestly have no interest in regular 149, but this nib looks great in its writing and in that you can unscrew the nib unit to service the piston and clean.

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6 hours ago, dftr said:

you can unscrew the nib unit to service the piston and clean.

 

Bad idea.  M149 is not a TWSBI.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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