Author Topic: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs  (Read 7712 times)

Offline Brush My Fennec

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"Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:14:39 PM »
Joseph Carstairs was an internationally influential British writing master of the early to mid 19th century. He emphasised movement of the arm, hand and fingers and movement up and down (but not across) the page until a good way of holding the pen had been learnt. He published various books, pamphlets et al of his system. Although he claimed to have invented this system entirely of his own, he almost certainly didn't invent the whole thing just as discoveries are rarely made by one person working alone. Nonetheless he did devise a system with his own unique elements to it and he influenced writing masters in the UK, the United States (his influence was probably greatest there and Spencerian likely ultimately derives from Carstairs system), France and Germany.

This book was one of his most comprehensive publications being a little under 200 pages and 20+ plates, several of them large fold out ones. It cost 12 shillings in 1822.

In my opinion the plate "Bold and free writing" is the most beautiful example of a running hand in the roundhand style I've seen. It is wonderfully energetic and alive.




















« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 07:47:30 AM by Brush My Fennec »

Offline Linda Y.

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Jospeh Carstairs
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 12:29:05 AM »
Absolutely incredible. Thank you for sharing.

PS I can't imagine writing using a quill and only 3 fingers to hold it.  :o :o :o

Offline Cecilia

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Jospeh Carstairs
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 04:37:37 AM »
Oh my, this is amazing!!! Thank you for sharing all these pictures!
Actually the only thing I am doing right is holding my pen with three fingers ;)
Great book! very inspiring for practice - thanks again for sharing!
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Jospeh Carstairs
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 05:14:27 AM »
Very interesting, especially the way the fingers are tied to the quill  ???
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Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 09:43:44 AM »
Very interesting. Thanks for posting.

Offline Milonguera

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 09:04:42 AM »
Wow.  This is absolutely beautiful.  Thank you for sharing! 
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Offline Starlee

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2014, 12:11:19 PM »
Loved this! Thank you so much for sharing!
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Offline inkcatcher

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 12:29:12 AM »
Wow. That's was just beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Will definitely use this as a guide! :)
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Offline robbie.hilado

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2014, 11:27:48 AM »
I chanced upon an e-book of this and decided to print it out for reference. I'm missing a lot of the pages though since most of it are poor scans. Most of the missing pages are of exemplars like the ones you posted.  I'm really glad to see quite a few of those missing pages with the scans you provided! how I wish I could get a hold of all the missing ones >.<

Offline AndyT

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2014, 04:42:39 PM »
I think there are a couple of ebook versions around, of which this one at Archive.org is the better - not that it's great quality, you understand.  The other one, courtesy of Google Books may be easier to read, but the exemplars are next to useless.

Offline robbie.hilado

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2014, 09:10:32 PM »
Yeah, I actually have the google ebook version XD I'll check out the at the archive.org :) Thank you! I really wanna get those exemplars ^^ Thank you so much for pointing out that there is another version out there!

Offline lyndsaywrightdesign

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2014, 11:11:11 PM »
Thank you for posting these images, Brush My Fennec!  And thank you for the ebook links, AndyT!
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Offline Blotbot

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2014, 12:38:19 PM »
Interesting book!  I wish they have gotten images of the folded out plates (at pages 74 and 114, for example).  I love that the Archive.org book has the circulation date stamps on the last page showing constant usage!

Offline alisonhomewood

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2016, 12:13:23 PM »
Joseph Carstairs was my fourth Great-Grandfather so I am very keen to have as much information as I possibly can.  I already learnt a lot from this post - the fact he had a partner called Mr Trail, for example. He wrote a long (epic) poem on London which is in the Guildhall Library and in the British Library are various letters in his own beautiful hand, to one of his daughters who had moved to Cheltenham.  Please do send me any relevant links to Joseph  - I am particularly keen to find an Obituary.

Offline Brush My Fennec

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Re: "Lectures On The Art Of Writing" by Joseph Carstairs
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2016, 06:43:40 PM »
Joseph Carstairs was my fourth Great-Grandfather so I am very keen to have as much information as I possibly can.  I already learnt a lot from this post - the fact he had a partner called Mr Trail, for example. He wrote a long (epic) poem on London which is in the Guildhall Library and in the British Library are various letters in his own beautiful hand, to one of his daughters who had moved to Cheltenham.  Please do send me any relevant links to Joseph  - I am particularly keen to find an Obituary.

I'm glad it could be of some use and I thank you for your information, I am very glad to know that some things written by Carstairs exist. I have not found an obituary,  but the last book I've found that he published was in 1843: 'Carstairs' national system of penmanship'. The Bodlian library has a copy of that book, it is of course purely about penmanship.

There was another writing master in the early 19th century called James Henry Lewis who had a long running dispute with Carstairs over who originated what, and he wrote about it in his book: 'The Royal Lewisian system of penmanship':

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433082130737;view=2up;seq=32

In there, one James Mowat claims that Carstairs was originally working as a tailor and that when he (Mowat) was teaching penmanship in Sunderland and Newcastle Carstairs took lessons from him there and afterwards moved to London.

Lewis also states that Carstairs was employed at one point by (the Scottish radical MP) Joseph Hume.

Do you have any pictures of the letters Carstairs wrote? I'm exceptionally interested in seeing examples of writing from him.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 06:48:30 PM by Brush My Fennec »