Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Vintage_BE

Pages: [1]
Spencerian Script / Summer solstice
« on: June 21, 2024, 11:57:08 AM »
Something to learn from nature.

Tools & Supplies / Canson Imagine
« on: June 20, 2024, 09:54:40 AM »
This is a “mixed media” paper of 200 g/sqm (130 lb). Pleasant off white color, smooth texture (although pointed nibs might snag on upstrokes if not used with a light hand).
See I found it for sale in France at a decent price.
I tested it with a rather predictable text, see

Spencerian Script / Study as much as you practice (Madarasz)
« on: June 16, 2024, 08:57:40 AM »
This how Michael Sull put it.

Spencerian Script / Slanted versus vertical writing
« on: April 22, 2024, 03:21:47 PM »
From P.Z. Bloser, Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship. “Dash and abandon”… words long disappeared from advertising vocabulary I believe.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / “Likes”, 90 years ago
« on: April 08, 2024, 02:58:22 PM »
Here is another piece of French historical penmanship.  Before WW II, cycling was the most popular sport in France (and in many other European countries). The Tour de France was the crucial event of the year and any French rider who succeeded in winning the Tour become immortal during his life already. One such hero was Antonin Magne, who grew up in a modest farmers’ family in the Cantal region. He won the Tour twice (1932 and 1934) and also took the world champion’s title in 1936. His successes were, of course, extensively covered in newspapers and magazines. Naturally this was long before internet; his numerous fans could “like” him only by showing up at the races or by … writing to him.  In 1936, after his world title, the magazine l’Auto (owner of the Tour de France) called on its readers to send Magne a letter with congratulations (the magazine provided a text that could be copied). Enclosed is one of the letters that were received, this one came from a high school in Orange.  What penmanship. Could you imagine a high school producing such a letter today?

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / A brylcreem recipe
« on: April 06, 2024, 03:42:11 PM »
I pictured this in the municipal museum of Avignon, France. The museum  has collected (oral and written) stories of local people about life in their childhood - some of these stories go back to the 1920/1930s. The picture is of a recipe for hair styling gel (in European English often called “brylcreem”) which through the 1950s was a must have for any gentleman. I am impressed by the quality of the penmanship. The style reminds me of the handwriting of my grandmother (who was born in 1896).

Spencerian Script / Victor Horta and Spencerian
« on: March 26, 2024, 03:59:57 PM »
Victor Horta was a Belgian architect and interior designer, one of the icons of the so-called “art nouveau” movement, see Horta lived from 1861 until 1947 and designed many houses and buildings, especially in Brussels, some of which have, rather miraculously, survived. I visited one of these houses last week-end and once again noticed how his “sinuous lines and flowing organic shapes” were inspired by plant forms ( Indeed Horta was fascinated by the stems of plants and the way they grow upwards seemingly ‘extending into infinity' (here is a link to a site with a few more pictures:
And then… I remembered reading about Father Spencer (a generation older than Horta, but his script enjoyed fame during Horta’s lifetime) taking inspiration from nature forms in designing his script ( and  Horta’s most productive period as an architect was between 1892 and the Second World War, i.e. during a period when Spencerian (including its ornamental version) enjoyed widespread fame, although that was primarily the case in the U.S.  I can’t help but think that, had Horta seen Spencerian calligraphy, he would have said that it represented the handwritten version of his drawings.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Eric Clapton to Layla
« on: February 28, 2024, 01:49:56 AM »
Pattie Boyd apparently is auctioning off a number of love letters that she received from Eric Clapton. Whether this is good taste or not would seem to be a debate beyond the scope of this Forum. However, I was struck by the consistency and elegance of Mr Clapton’s handwriting (which I had not seen before).  Were these letters actually written without guidelines?

Tools & Supplies / Oblique pen holders for EU residents
« on: February 21, 2024, 11:46:43 AM »
Until recently, I was convinced that the writing experience was a function of (the combination of) paper, ink, and nib. In other words, the penholder was not relevant — to be sure, it’s pleasant, and perhaps motivating, to pick up a beautiful penholder, but I was convinced that the basic plastic/black holder wrote just as well as any of its more expensive colleagues.
I gradually realised that, when using nibs that are somewhat stiff (such as the Zebra or the Nikko G, as compared to nibs such as the Lenny Principal, Hunt 101, or the Gillott 303), it does make a difference to use a penholder that is a bit more rigid than the basic plastic version.
Now, as I’m sure you know, basic plastic holders are quite cheap (they can be bought from EU websites at less than 5 EUR), and (but) more sophisticated holders are significantly more expensive (wooden holders start from approx. EUR 15 and go all the way up to EUR 100 or above).
Since most of the nicer oblique holders are offered by non-EU vendors, they need to be “imported” into our Union… which recently decided to “crack down” on supposedly false custom declarations (a USD 100 item being declared as having a value of USD 5, etc.). So, at present, all items coming into the Union are subject to customs duties. And to VAT (20% or ore, unless sold by a webshop that pre registered within the EU and pays the VAT itself). And to… customs clearance charges. For example, in Belgium, the postal operator charges the equivalent of USD 20 for “clearing” your parcel (i.e. for charging you customs duties and VAT on that parcel). In short, ordering from non-EU suppliers is often unattractive for EU residents.
That’s why I thought that I would signal my discovery of a European vendor of a oblique penholder that (based on my experience) writes significantly better than the basic plastic model… and is sold at a quite reasonable EUR 7 (approx. USD 7.5 at current exchange rates).
What I like about this penholder is that it is significantly more rigid than it’s plastic colleague, that it has a bit more girth (resulting in a better grip, at least for me), while being *very* light - the weight difference with the plastic holder is almost imperceptible, at least for me.
The item is sold by lecalligraphe(dot)com, a French webshop. 
I have enclosed a few pictures. In the picture with the five holders, the le calligraphe item is the second one from the left.
To be clear, I have no affiliation with this vendor whatsoever, I’m merely an impressed customer.

Spencerian Script / Succession of m’s and n’s and of u’s
« on: February 21, 2024, 11:11:49 AM »
I apologise if this question has been brought up before on the forum (I did a few searches but was not able to find anything relevant).

One of the Spencerian rules is that connecting strokes are written at a 30 degree angle, i.e. significantly less steep than the standard 52 degree angle that is used for downstrokes.

My question relates to the angle of the upstrokes in characters such as m, n and u.  I had understood (perhaps wrongly) that these strokes also have a 30 degree angle.

Now, m, n and u contain more than one upstroke.  If these upstrokes are written at the 30 degree angle, it becomes hard to distinguish two successive m’s (as in “immediate”) or a succession of an m and and n (as in “penman”), or a succession of u’s (as in “continuum”).

I try to fix this by writing the first upstroke at a 30 degree angle, and the following upstroke(s) at an angle that is a bit steeper.  That results in the connecting stroke taking a bit more space then the space between the upstrokes within the letter.  See the enclosed sample of “penman”.

In the enclosed sample of “continuum” I wrote all upstrokes of the two successive u’s at the same angle, which results in the connecting stroke to have the same with as the letter u — making (at least in my neophyte eye) the succession of the two u’s less easy to read.

Are there other/better solutions? Or am I just wrong as to the angle to use for the second/third upstroke?

Greetings from Kiel, Germany, hometown of my wife. When visiting the maritime museum I noticed the below business card. It belonged to Carl-Wilhelm Loewe (öwe_(Verwaltungsjurist), the first president of the Kiel canal (, completed in 1895. What struck me was that his card is printed in pure Copperplate style. That seems to suggest that at the close of the 19th century, Copperplate was a “dominant” or “customary” choice for “stylish” documents such as business cards. Indeed German handwriting (as taught in schools and used in official documents such as the ship logs displayed at the museum) at that time differed significantly from Copperplate - for a start, it was not written with a strong right-hand slant).
Interesting as well to my neophyte eyes is the “w” as used in this business card. It looks

Introductions / Hello from Belgium
« on: March 07, 2023, 03:41:32 AM »
Hello everyone!

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / WWI Journal page
« on: March 04, 2023, 04:14:06 PM »
Perhaps slightly off topic, but I wanted to share the enclosed picture. It’s the title page of a journal of WWI that was recently donated to a museum here in Flanders. The author (born 1892 and thus 22 yo at the outbreak of the war) later became a well known architect. I am guessing that his handwriting benefited from (or reflects) his architect studies. @sybillevz will be able to analyse this much more correctly but this would seem to be based on the French “Ronde” style. Interesting combination of slanted and vertical script.

Pages: [1]