Lecture 1: Writing Models and the Formation of National Scripts

Speaker
Professor Marc Smith, Professeur de Paléographie - The Ecole Nationale des Chartes, Lyell Reader in Bibliography 2020
Event date
Event time
17:00 - 18:00
Venue
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 3BG
Venue details

Lecture Theatre

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Free
Disabled access?
Yes
Booking required
Not required

Lecture 1: Writing Models and the Formation of National Scripts

From the later Middle Ages to the early 19th century, western handwriting was subjected to an unprecedented diversity of scripts and styles, characteristic of nations, languages, institutions, functional uses and the professional or social status of men and women.

The calligraphic models for teaching such scripts were developed by professional scribes such as copyists, chancery clerks, secretaries and writing masters.

A minority among them had their manuscripts translated into print and widely circulated, thus contributing to a European market of letter forms, shaped and reshaped by the changing balance of power and taste.

After the prevalence of Italian models in the Renaissance, French writing books were an essential component of that market, until the English round hand (later known as ‘copperplate’) gradually became the common medium of business in the West.

At the crossroads of bibliography and palaeography, the lectures will address a number of technical, commercial and cultural issues raised by the cataloguing and scrutiny of French writing books, hitherto the least charted territory in early modern calligraphy.

Followed by a drinks reception in Blackwell Hall.