Author Topic: Calligraphy in the UK  (Read 375 times)

Offline Erica McPhee

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Calligraphy in the UK
« on: October 23, 2019, 02:33:02 PM »
I can’t believe it - but it seems like we may actually be able to take a trip to the UK next summer. I have found long lost family on my Dad’s side and we are going to visit. I have always dreamed of visiting England, Ireland, and Scotland and now it’s (hopefully) coming true!

Any calligraphy places/stores/stuff I should see while I’m there? My family lives in Devon (or Devonshire - not quite sure which is correct). Or any places in general that are a “don’t miss” for a once in a lifetime trip?

Thanks!  ;D
Truly, Erica
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Offline KristinT

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2019, 11:08:48 PM »
I've spent very little time in the UK, so sadly can't contribute to answering your question.  Just wanted to pop in and say congratulations!  It's so cool that you've found some lost family, and get to take an amazing trip to meet them too.  Happy for you!    ;D

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 07:36:15 PM »
Aw thanks @KristinT ! It's really quite remarkable. My dad shared his name with three people and never knew it - his grandfather, his uncle, and a cousin.  ;D

I was hoping @Cally has some ideas.  ;D
Truly, Erica
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Offline K-2

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 01:05:15 AM »
@Erica McPhee - I spend a lot of time doing academic research and going to conferences in the UK, and I did a study abroad program at Cambridge back when I was in college.

Others will have recommendations for where to shop, but if you're traveling around the UK and Ireland, as a calligrapher, you might really enjoy seeing some of the medieval manuscripts on display (although this might not be the sort of thing you had in mind) or other historic documents.

For instance, if you'll be in Dublin, it's worth the price of admission and the line to see the 9th-century Book of Kells at Trinity College (https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/book-of-kells/).  Not only is it one of the most beautiful manuscripts ever produced, but it's also kind of terrible!  As an actual text of the bible, it is shockingly full of errors and inaccuracies, misspellings and skipped words.  But who cares when it's so beautiful!  Let it be a lesson to all calligraphers who strive for perfection and accuracy.  Sometimes beautiful is enough.
* You also get to see the Old Library with your admission ticket.
** You have kids, yes?  There's a very cute animated movie called "The Secret of Kells" (total fiction/fantasy, of course) about monks and manuscripts that back in the day made my kids much more interested in going to look at this super old book.  Bonus round: it will also make them more interested to see a sight such as Clonmacnoise, one of the most important monasteries and centers of learning in medieval Europe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clonmacnoise).  The setting of "The Secret of Kells" film was based on Clonmacnoise.

I'm assuming that you'll spend at least a couple days in London....
So, if you have professional credentials (which, yes - you're a calligrapher!), you can request a reader pass at the British Library: https://www.bl.uk/help/how-to-get-a-reader-pass.  That will enable you to access their astounding collection and look at historic documents, manuscripts from all eras (lots of pointed pen work!), up close and personal: https://www.bl.uk/catalogues-and-collections/catalogues
* Note - this is an alone-time activity.  Not for the kids.  Or the spouse (well, not mine, at least).  You need to plan it out months in advance to peruse the catalog online and let them know what to prepare for you to look at, but if this is a once in a lifetime sort of trip for you, maybe it's not so unreasonable to take the time to feed your professional interest in this way.
**On the other hand, the British Museum has spectacular exhibits for everyone. And it's free (although it's good manners to leave a £5 donation).  You can see the manuscript of Beowulf, from around the year 1000!  It's kind of messed up, because it was in a fire.  They have the Lindisfarne Gospels on display as well - the pinnacle of Anglo-Saxon manuscript art.

As an academic specialist in medieval paleography, this is my world, and I can keep recommending things to go see all day and night (as well as how to finagle access).  Let me know if you want more - or more specific places to see pointed pen work.  But those are my top two picks of things calligraphers should do in the UK.  I'll be in Durham, UK, myself, in July, giving a presentation on my current work at the biennial congress of the New Chaucer Society.  I'd invite you to come see it, but it's on the opposite end of England from Devonshire, and alas, the program is for members only (and also probably kind of dull).

--yours, K
« Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 01:54:30 AM by K-2 »

Offline neriah

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2019, 03:18:36 AM »
This one is on my todo list: https://www.cornelissen.com/

My visit to London was before my calligraphy days, but the next time I visit, this store is the first location I will visit :)

Offline Gary

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 10:01:38 AM »
Hi Erica,

Here's a link to the address of another great supplier in London, Falkiner Fine Papers. They don't appear to have their own website.

http://www.londontown.com/LondonInformation/Shopping/Falkiner_Fine_Papers/e179/

Devon is a beautiful county but don't miss the opportunity to visit the neighbouring county of Cornwall too.

I wish you a great "trip of a lifetime".

Offline Cally

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2019, 05:45:01 PM »
Hi @Erica McPhee,

This is very exciting! I live in Devon and it's an amazing place, let me know if you need any recommendations for things to do here. in terms of calligraphy shops there is not much to offer unfortunately. There is a lovely town called Topsham which has an incredible second-hand bookshop with a few calligraphy titles usually in stock and a big antiques centre which sells, amongst many other things, a few wax seals, unique dip pens and fountain pens. London is the place for great calligraphy-related shops - as previously mentioned L Cornelissen is a must see as well as Shepherds Inc. Fine Papers and London Graphics Centre. I will also second K-2's recommendation of the British Library, if you can get a readers pass for the day there are an array of unique and inspiring manuscripts. The St Johns Bible is also on display at the V and A museum in London and some of the Calligraphy on show in Exeter Cathedral (Devon) is stunning.

Always here if you have any questions!

Cally

Offline Inked botanicals

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2019, 07:54:49 AM »
Wow!! Your travel sounds amazing!! I cannot really help much, as I am from Spain, but I was in London last may and I can add myself to the British Library recommendation.

I got my reader pass but at the end I did not have the time to use it, but there is an amazing (and free) exhibition with many manuscripts from different times and places. There was where I spent all my time and could not search in their catalogs. I can say that you can bring your family there (I was with my sister who has absolutely no idea of calligraphy and she was amazed too). They are probably going to need much less time than you, because you are going to be with your nose glued to the glass analyzing every detail, but it has so many different things that makes it quite interesting for everyone.

At the time there was also an exhibit of the history of writing, but I think that one was just temporary. Keep in mind their exhibitions program for the date you are traveling!!
Alba.

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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2019, 08:10:41 AM »
@K-2 Thank you so much for taking the time for the recommendations. They are fantastic and exactly what I had hoped for. As I intended to become a research librarian before fate took me in another direction, I am quite thrilled by your suggestions! My children are teens now (and one young adult) and we home schooled for a few years exploring museums and using historical art as the basis for many lessons so I know they will enjoy the places you have suggested. They are also quite interested in history and their heritage so I know we will all be enthralled. Thanks again!  ;D

@Erica McPhee - I spend a lot of time doing academic research and going to conferences in the UK, and I did a study abroad program at Cambridge back when I was in college.
--yours, K
« Last Edit: October 31, 2019, 08:23:51 AM by Erica McPhee »
Truly, Erica
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2019, 08:11:35 AM »
Wonderful! Thanks so much @neriah   ;D

This one is on my todo list: https://www.cornelissen.com/
Truly, Erica
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2019, 08:23:21 AM »
Thanks so much @GaryL ! I hope to see as many areas as I can while we are there. I am very excited about seeing this!  ;D

Hi Erica,

Here's a link to the address of another great supplier in London, Falkiner Fine Papers. They don't appear to have their own website.

http://www.londontown.com/LondonInformation/Shopping/Falkiner_Fine_Papers/e179/

Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2019, 08:27:44 AM »
Ooooooh - I am getting more excited by the minute @Cally ! I may be in touch at some point to ask about location in terms of some of the air bnbs we are considering, if you wouldn't mind. We have already seen the St John's Bible exhibit (and I took a class with one of the calligraphers who did a large portion of the work) but the calligraphy on show at the Exeter Cathedral is making it onto the list!  ;D

Hi @Erica McPhee,

This is very exciting! I live in Devon and it's an amazing place, let me know if you need any recommendations for things to do here.

Cally
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2019, 08:30:14 AM »
Great advice @Inked botanicals ! We also have a few war history buffs in the family so I am sure they could also find much to entertain themselves with. I never knew anything about the pass so I am so grateful for the information!  ;D

Wow!! Your travel sounds amazing!! Keep in mind their exhibitions program for the date you are traveling!!
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: Calligraphy in the UK
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2019, 03:24:10 AM »
Oh! I am also in Devon! There are some very quirky places to visit - I usually head to Lynton if I want to treat myself to a day out - not because of anything arty, but just because I like it there - though it does have some nice galleries. Lynton also has the cliff railway, which is great fun. And there is Clovelly, which is very quaint.
For South Devon, Totnes is good, and I like going to Bigbury on Sea where there is a causeway to Burgh Island [Agatha Christie!].

If you come out of season then remember to pack your wellies :-)