Author Topic: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714  (Read 2202 times)

Offline sybillevz

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The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« on: April 02, 2019, 11:46:53 AM »
Hey everyone,

I just wrapped up my latest post and thought it may be a good idea to tell you about it here.
While I was researching old copybooks, I found some great advice on flourishing, written by John Clark - one of the founding fathers of the English round Hand. Some of his "hints" have been often repeated in this forum, but the post also contains some things that aren't so well known about flourishing.

Here's the link https://pennavolans.com/the-golden-secrets-of-flourishing/

I'd be happy to discuss this with you here too  ;)

Offline KacyBG

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Re: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 01:45:52 PM »
Beautiful!

Thank you so much--I'm a history nut, and enjoyed this post. As for the Clark-Shelley inkstorm, I loved Shelley's imaginative artistry, but I'm drawn to :) Clark's understated elegance.

Offline sybillevz

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Re: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2019, 03:03:31 PM »
Thanks Kacy !
Actually, the "disagreement" was between Snell and Clark  ;).
Clark had taken over Shelley's position as a teacher at the "Hand and Pen" in Warwick Lane when Shelley was appointed master at Christ's Hospital, in 1710. Christ's Hospital was an enviable position, and Snell seems to have been a little envious... He expressed what he thought of Shelley's work and Clark defended Shelley (who was not as outspoken and confident as Clark was).
The argument kept going between Clark and Snell :
Snell criticized the what he saw as a lack of precision in the explanations on writing published by Clark in Writing Improv'd. In my opinion (from reading the details of the argument published both in books and newspapers), Snell was just a man of bad faith, jealous that Clark managed to publish his own rules before he could, and unable to admit that other masters could have contributed to the development of the RH as much as he did... He liked to say he was the first to publish things.
Clark defended himself with some reason, the argument was made public through publications in newspapers until 1717... Which, some thought, completely discredited the profession in the eyes of the public. In the end, what I retained from this is that Clark allowed more variety / fancy in his writing than Snell did. Snell wanted to work according to very strict rules, which were probably not very practical for a handwriting system. He was probably too much of a perfectionist. He was very talented, but this may have made him a bit of a snob.

Years later, Bickham engraved a plate representing the "fathers" of the RH. He placed Clark at the top and Snell at the bottom... Not that is opinion is unbiased... He engraved all the copybooks of these masters from 1709 to his / their death. He confessed that Clark had been the first to instruct him in the art of writing, and had done a superb job. But he also had great admiration for Snell's most famous pupil : Joseph Champion. (See the plate I'm referring to here : https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?partid=1&assetid=164997001&objectid=1506724#more-views

Offline KacyBG

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Re: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 03:38:03 PM »
Thank you for that link. At first I thought of all the time invested in that one list, even as I appreciated the work, but then I reminded myself that writing was a major pastime back then, with no technological amusements to sidetrack the work.

Offline sybillevz

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Re: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 04:59:35 PM »
I'm not sure when this piece was made, but I think that it was probably created as a way for Bickham to advertise his expertise as a letter engraver.
Bickham contributed to most major copybooks published between 1709 and 1750, he was basically the only one to have worked with masters in the early years of the RH.
By creating this plate, I think he intended to show that he had worked with the best writing masters during the "development" period of the RH, insinuating that he was the only real expert engraver able to reproduce the RH properly.
The ornamentation at the top and bottom remind me of Shelley's style, so it is possible that the plate dates from around 1712-1725, when Shelley was still around and enjoyed a good reputation. I don't remember seeing such ornamentation in Bickham's later works.


Offline darrin1200

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Re: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2019, 08:03:40 AM »
That is an excellent article Sybille. As a beginner, I really enjoyed reading it and will be back to read more.
Darrin McArthur
Timber Elegance ~ Handcrafted Writing Instruments

Offline Starlee

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Re: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2019, 09:00:52 AM »
I love this. I had to chuckle at the part where they say flourishes should balance the piece, and not just because you like curlicues. lol I love curlicues! But I have to say, after looking at some of their images, I think they like curlicues too ;)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 11:20:28 AM by Starlee »
Star

Offline sybillevz

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Re: The Rules of flourishing, according to John Clark, 1714
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2019, 10:29:14 AM »
ahah ! Starlee ! I think we all like curlicues !
Clearly, Shelley loved them and managed to make beautiful things  ;)