Author Topic: Some Resources on the original English Roundhand  (Read 340 times)

Offline hzw8813

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Some Resources on the original English Roundhand
« on: May 08, 2019, 02:53:10 PM »
Hi there! So today one thing lead to another and I was faced with the question of distinction between English Roundhand, Engrosser's Script, and Copperplate as an umbrella term. I did a fair bit of research, and this topic has certainly appeared on this forum a couple of times. After digging through the rare books section of IAMPETH, I found these three books most representative of the original Roundhand script that I had in my head:
The Art of Writing is the earliest textbook I can find on penmanship on Iampeth, digging through the grave of their rare books pages. The author rambles a little too much, but gives a very specific instruction for every stroke, and onto every letter. This is true Roundhand similar to the Universal Penman.
Published in 1821, this book has great examples of Roundhand. The proportions of the letter are pretty much the same as the ones in the Art of Writing.
This book, called "Practical Penmanship Being A Development of the Carstairian System" (published in 1830), covered how to cut the quill, the correct grip using a quill pen (and strings tied to the finger, kind of funny looking by today's standards...), and a "practical" approach to writing with a quill pen. I find this and some other books on Roundhand in the 1850s more or less resemble very early Spencerian, with much less width in each letter, and more ornamental. The author also incorporated oval movement exercises and a fair amount of end flourishes in his examples.

And as this more recent thread have discussed here, the main difference in execution of these two variations of Copperplate, if you will, is the pen lift at header or baseline. Although Engrosser's supposed to look like there is no gaps between strokes, in reality, if the pen lift technique is not mastered, still creates interruption. Personally I think there's also a difference between the letterforms: English Roundhand has much less bold shades, a less austere look, and more "flowy", if you may.

In my opinion, I think we may have exaggerated the differences between the two, because the structure of letters are so similar. Since the primary instrument for Roundhand (quill pen) is not in use as much anymore, perhaps we can achieve both through the use of a pointed pen, with a little tweak in technique.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 02:55:33 PM by hzw8813 »

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Some Resources on the original English Roundhand
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2019, 09:39:12 PM »
Great observations and links! I also think the height of the ascenders, ratio to x-height, and thickness of the downstrokes distinguish them as well. Thanks for sharing!
Truly, Erica
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