Jump to content
Classifieds is broken, please do not submit any new ads ×

Roundhand; and early 19th C. English writing



Recommended Posts

I wonder if somone could provide examples, or pointers to examples, of English Roundhand script (aside from the Declaration of Independence)?

 

So far as I know (not a long journey, though), Roundhand is in part distinguished from Copperplate because of the writing instrument used -- a dip or quill pen for Roundhand vs. an offset nib for Copperplate; and due to its usage -- with Copperplate being the source for engraved products.

 

Was Roundhand a common writing hand in early 19th-Century England, whether dip pens or quills were used? If so, did Roundhand disappear entirely with the transition (at least in the U.S.) to Spencerian? And if not, what was the most common handwriting style employed in the U.K. for personal correspondence then?

 

Thank you in advance for the education ..

 

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 14
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Belboz

    6

  • Ann Finley

    2

  • Carrie

    1

  • TMLee

    1

Hi Wayne,

 

I can't help much here--maybe someone that knows more about this will chime in. It's interesting that you asked specifically about personal correspondence. I can tell you that Roundhand was prevalent in England even before the 19th century as a business hand and was used by writing masters. But I'm not sure if it was also employed by most commoners for correspondence...I would guess so, but don't really know.

 

Best, Ann

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ann -- thank you for the reply. I would only qualify "personal correspondence" as that used, for a literary reference, by Pride and Prejudice's Mr. Darcy; or by M.P.s, and other well-educated people.

 

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

In partial answer to my original question, I ordered a copy of George Bickham's Penmanship Made Easy (Young Clerk's Assistant), originally published in the 18th century.

 

This is a copy book with many pages of Roundhand writing, and examples of the "Italian Hand" (executed with a finer quill and a longer split in the nib than the instrument for Roundhand), with the latter intended apparently for ladies. I imagine a cursive italic or a flexible nib would suit the style perfectly too.

 

At first glance, the miniscule r is more like the Chancery Italic version than to the Copperplate letter, or to the Spencerian model.

 

The joins seem a bit different than in Copperplate and Spencerian. Some of the Roundhand descenders are simpler; Roundhand fs differ as well, several terminal letters, including y, are distinct from Copperplate; and the long s is frequent.

 

Is anyone aware of a reference or book describing the paleography which transformed Roundhand into Copperplate (or its quill-pen equivalent) and beyond?

 

Regardess, Roundhand appears to be an elegant, flowing, and easily legible hand.

 

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wayne, I have a hunch you'd like Alexander Nesbitt's The History And Technique of Lettering, and find it useful to answer some of your questions. Also you may want to see Donald Jackson's The Story of Writing.

 

Hope these references help!

Ann

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

In a happy accident, I found the web site of the New York Chapter of the US Philatelic Classics Society, and their web page on "the American Hand" -- http://www.nystamp.org/American%20Hand.html.

 

It provides a selection of letters or letter-fragments written from the late-16th century to the 20th century.

 

Included are several examples in Roundhand, demonstrating its evolution in "the Colonies" and the later transition to Spencerian-like forms.

 

I wish the .jpg resolution were finer and larger magnification were possible; but even so these are fascinating handwriting samples.

 

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you seen the writing samples that I posted here. The later images are posted on a site called Spinning the Web which is the results of a cotton industry digitisation project. You might be interested in some of the handwriting samples posted on there. If you go to the full search option and do a search on Peter Holland as an author you'll find samples of an early 19th century doctor's writing - proof that there's a long history of doctors having bad penmanship ;) To any of our doctors on the forum, no offence intended :)

Again in the full search on Spinning the Web you can search on source type for manuscript and get some interesting results. I think I'm going to get nicely distracted reading the Peterloo Massacre Relief Fund Manuscript.

 

Edited for typo. Thanks for pointing that out, Wayne :)

Edited by Carrie
Link to post
Share on other sites

Carrie -- I had never seen your earlier posts, thank you for the pointers and other info. I am starting a few searches on Spinning the Web (although its url should have one fewer "n" in its address above!).

 

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Hey ...

Thanks for posting... The samples are interesting ...

I have this itch to try writing like that.. anyone of you tried that already?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 years later...

Samples from some of the earliest printed roundhand manuals.

 

John Ayres' "A tutor to penmanship, or, The writing master". 1698.

 

http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/889/atutortopenmanshiporthe.jpg

 

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/889/atutortopenmanshiporthe.jpg

 

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/889/atutortopenmanshiporthe.jpg

 

George Bickham's "Round-text, a new copy-book by George Bickham". 1712.

 

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/8914/roundtextanewcopybookby.jpg

 

http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/8914/roundtextanewcopybookby.jpg

 

http://img253.imageshack.us/img253/8914/roundtextanewcopybookby.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

That first roundhand example bothered me for a few seconds -- it looked funny. Then I realized what was wrong: the minuscules are written "backward" -- that is, as shown, they can't be written from left to right with a flexible pen, as the swelled strokes are all up strokes. Engraving error, maybe? Or did Ayres write the examples backward for the engraver to copy, and the swells didn't get corrected? Looking closer, the third example is the same way, seemingly written from right to left. It's still beautiful script, but I bet it frustrated a lot of students who tried to copy the hand, way back around 1700...

Edited by ZeissIkon

Does not always write loving messages.

Does not always foot up columns correctly.

Does not always sign big checks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

excellent observation there... first thought "what is this guy Zeisslkon on about?"... but, then on looking at it again, and trying to do the letterforms as pictured in the suspect exemplars, they are nigh impossible to do as shown...

Edited by TrevorML
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now







×
×
  • Create New...