Author Topic: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script  (Read 4228 times)

Offline Ken Fraser

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The history of the writing styles, English Roundhand, also known as Copperplate
and its descendant American Engraverís or Engrosserís Script has been covered
in depth many times elsewhere. My purpose here, isnít to go over old ground
yet again, but to attempt to demonstrate, with a couple of examples, some of the
differences between them as this still seems to be a subject of some confusion.

I decided that it would be best to write the same words in the two styles for direct
comparison. Also, they were written at the same x height and with the same
Esterbrook 357 nib in an oblique holder.

The example of English Roundhand here, is my attempt to simulate the lettering
in the 18th century ďThe Universal PenmanĒ. The Engrosserís Script example is
an attempt to copy the style of writing which can be found on the IAMPETH site.

The shaded downstrokes are wider in Engrosserís Script and the ascender and
descender loops are much wider as is the lettering, overall. As a result this script
takes up markedly more horizontal space on the page.

Comparing the looped letters h in both examples highlights a major difference.
In Roundhand the downstroke is straight and evenly weighted from top to bottom
as soon as the turn has been completed.
In Engrosserís Script, the downstroke tapers from top to bottom.
There are no tapered straight strokes in Copperplate.

Comparing the letters n.
In Engrosserís Script, the upstroke hairline avoids touching the preceding shaded
downstroke. This is to avoid carry wet ink up into the hairline.
This practice isnít followed in Copperplate where the hairline branches from the
shaded downstroke much higher than in Engrosserís Script and emerges smoothly
with no break. This difference applies to all similar letters. There are, however,
examples of Copperplate where this separation of main stroke and hairline occurs,
but this is a deviation from the original style under discussion, here.
 
There are, of course, other differences but these are the main ones.

 

Engraverís or Engrosserís Script is sufficiently different to its progenitor, Copperplate
(English Roundhand) to warrant  the difference in designations.

Engrosserís Script is easiest found and studied on the IAMPETH site. There are
several excellent historic examples and the modern, extensive work on the subject
by Dr Joe Vitolo is a wonderful resource.

Copperplate is also covered to an extent on IAMPETH but the monumental ďThe
Universal PenmanĒ produced in the 18th century, remains the best source for study.

As this lettering is intended as exemplars, it has been written slowly and carefully
and retouched where necessary.





     
« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 07:49:03 AM by Ken Fraser »

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 02:35:14 PM »
Thanks Ken!  what are some of the differences between majuscules of Engrosser's & ER?
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Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2016, 06:16:15 PM »
Thanks Ken!  what are some of the differences between majuscules of Engrosser's & ER?

There are some differences between the two, but nothing of any great importance and both sets can be interchanged effectively IMO.

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2016, 07:15:53 PM »
Thanks Ken!  what are some of the differences between majuscules of Engrosser's & ER?

There are some differences between the two, but nothing of any great importance and both sets can be interchanged effectively IMO.

Interchanged much like the way Madarasz used Spencerian maj and Copperplate min?  Hybrid evolutions are my favorites!
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Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 03:39:41 AM »
Interchanged much like the way Madarasz used Spencerian maj and Copperplate min?  Hybrid evolutions are my favorites!

Here's my take on the Spencerian/Copperplate hybrid concept.

http://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=2509.0

Offline Andrew H

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2016, 09:35:49 AM »
Beautiful script as always, Ken! But I would argue that what you've written in your Engrosser's Script example is actually a hybrid style somewhere between English Roundhand and Engrosser's, and much closer to the former.

Probably the most fundamental difference between Engrosser's and E.R. is that each stroke is executed in isolation, with the pen being lifted at both the headline and the baseline (some penmen would, on occasion, forego lifting at the headline, but I'm talking here about Engrosser's in its purest form). This tends to result in a much more regimented, repetitive structure to the script than the more free-flowing movements of E.R. From analysis of hundreds of exemplars, pen lifts are the defining characteristic of Engrosser's Script, without which it loses its distinct and unique character.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts! :)
Andrew

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Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2016, 06:03:14 PM »
Beautiful script as always, Ken! But I would argue that what you've written in your Engrosser's Script example is actually a hybrid style somewhere between English Roundhand and Engrosser's, and much closer to the former.

Probably the most fundamental difference between Engrosser's and E.R. is that each stroke is executed in isolation, with the pen being lifted at both the headline and the baseline (some penmen would, on occasion, forego lifting at the headline, but I'm talking here about Engrosser's in its purest form). This tends to result in a much more regimented, repetitive structure to the script than the more free-flowing movements of E.R. From analysis of hundreds of exemplars, pen lifts are the defining characteristic of Engrosser's Script, without which it loses its distinct and unique character.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts! :)

Thanks for your input, Andrew.

In writing or drawing any script, I am in favour of continuous strokes wherever possible, with pen lifts only when absolutely necessary. In this way, I am of the opinion that the natural flow of the lettering is maintained as much as possible.

I'd like to cite Dr Joe Vitolo's excellent and thorough analysis of Engrosser's script. He advocates a continuous, unbroken stroke when going from a shaded downstroke into a hairline upstroke.

I can see no advantage in constant, unnecessary stopping and starting when writing, thereby disrupting the flow.

My Engrosser's Script is based on many examples, and to my eye, is quite different from its progenitor, English Roundhand.

Ken
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 06:15:38 PM by Ken Fraser »

Offline Masgrimes

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2016, 09:21:24 PM »

I can see no advantage in constant, unnecessary stopping and starting when writing, thereby disrupting the flow.


That's the significance of the lifts, it is not a matter of stopping and starting but a metronome with which the rhythm of the script is established. The benefit comes from the angular interior structure necessary to execute historic (Zanerian) Engrosser's Script. Though Joe's analysis is thorough, the Zanerian Manual remains the purest representation of Engrosser's Script as it was being taught and used in the early 20th century. As you likely know, the Zanerian manual advocates lifting at the baseline (Page 3, fig. 1).

You mention that your sample here is based on many samples, I'm curious if this may be a case of you studying from one penman, while Andrew and I are studying from another. What examples would you say are most indicative of the style that you've included here?
David Grimes
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Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2016, 04:21:45 AM »
Andrew & David,

I bow to your more thorough knowledge of the origins of Engraver's Script.
 
I am self-taught in this, as in other scripts, and having read through the Zanerian instructions,
and having looked at various examples via IAMPETH,  I settled on Joe Vitolo's version as being the most suitable for me to study.

Just a side note regarding Engraver's Script :-

I do think that it's unfortunate that, in the Zanerian instructions, no mention is made of its predecessor, English Roundhand. Although it's closely related to ER being descended from it  ::), it's as though the style emerged one day, fully formed from thin air!  :-\

Ken
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 04:25:20 AM by Ken Fraser »

Offline AndyT

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2016, 05:58:32 AM »
I do think that it's unfortunate that, in the Zanerian instructions, no mention is made of its predecessor, English Roundhand. Although it's closely related to ER being descended from it  ::), it's as though the style emerged one day, fully formed from thin air!  :-\

It does seem that way from a modern perspective, doesn't it?  It's more likely a case of something being left unsaid because it was too obvious to be worth mentioning though, I reckon.  Roundhand was ubiquitous in the US prior to the emergence of a distinctive American handwriting, and there were certainly manuals (Carstairs', Jenkins' and Huntington's, for example) in circulation setting out the English style.  In the penmanship literature of the mid and later 19th century one occasionally comes across references to "the old roundhand" with no further explanation, so it seems that it was still very familiar.

Incidentally, doesn't that "English" rankle, just a little?  ;)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 06:32:00 AM by AndyT »

Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2016, 07:32:29 AM »
It does seem that way from a modern perspective, doesn't it?  It's more likely a case of something being left unsaid because it was too obvious to be worth mentioning though, I reckon. 

You could be right....but I doubt it!  :-\


Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2016, 07:42:29 AM »
Incidentally, doesn't that "English" rankle, just a little?  ;)

My father was Scottish and my mother was English, so as a half-breed I've no problem with the English...although I was born in Scotland!

In fact, I'm happy just to consider myself British. Life's much simpler that way!  :)

Ken

Offline AndyT

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2016, 09:57:25 AM »
In fact, I'm happy just to consider myself British. Life's much simpler that way!  :)

Same here ... my family seems to have come from the borders anyway, back in the dim and distant, and probably weren't picky about whether they stole English or Scottish cattle.  :)

Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2016, 10:21:47 AM »
In fact, I'm happy just to consider myself British. Life's much simpler that way!  :)

Same here ... my family seems to have come from the borders anyway, back in the dim and distant, and probably weren't picky about whether they stole English or Scottish cattle.  :)

As a fellow Brit, when and how did you first become interested in this essentially American deviation? I first became aware of it and started learning it, as recently as ten years ago.
As far as I know, this Script is virtually unknown outside the USA. In my collection of calligraphy books, I've never even seen it mentioned in passing, and it was only with the emergence of the internet that I learned of its existence!  :o

Offline AndyT

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Re: Comparisons: Copperplate (English Roundhand) & Engrosser's Script
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2016, 11:41:49 AM »
I don't know that I'd call it a deviation - just another (rather brash) expression of the Roundhand aesthetic, surely?!

Anyway, it's not an interest of mine as such, but in the course of researching American handwriting in general it inevitably popped up ... I reckon I can probably identify it correctly nine times out of ten, but wouldn't go any further than that.  My focus is entirely on Spencerian and OP as far as pointed pen goes: more deviancy.  ;)