Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An alphabet book

I mentioned that there was an added extra in my gift pack from Lesley - and here is the wondrous and splendid book that was like gold.


Alphabets Old and New
For the use of Craftsmen, with an introduction essay on 'art in the alphabet'
By Lewis F. Day London, 1906.


Apparently there is a companion volume to this  Lettering in Ornament  an enquiry into the decorative use of lettering . past . present . and possible.

Worth hunting for I imagine!

The essay runs for 44 pages and is a delight. It is almost conversational and written by an observer and admirer of letter forms, rather than a scholar of them.  Which is to say that she describes letterforms and their variations over time in a perfect manner, yet without using the language we often employ to describe things.

Two examples "There is something very whimsical about the character of Anglo-Saxon capitals; at times mechanically square in form, at others exceptionally flowing and even frisky" p20.

"The mediaeval German version of black letter was stronger than that of other countries, the French more fanciful, the Italian more refined, more perfect, but perhaps never so Gothic" p.23

The book contains over 160 plates with various alphabets, numerals, and ampersands. Here a few that surprised and delighted me.







I was quite astounded at the variations in this book, some very individual styles and exciting design moments.  I have already identified a letter form I want to use in a workshop next year which is fabulous!

A great gift indeed. Thanks so much Lesley.

12 comments:

  1. oooo 'frisky' little book xxxx

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    1. I know Ronnie - how gorgeous is the language!?!?

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  2. the purrfect gift for you Fiona!

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  3. This is brilliant! What a wonderful treasure.
    Sandy in the UK

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    1. A really precious little treasure Sandy. Go well.

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  4. How absolutely delightful! Really quite the perfect gift for you. How wonderful and thoughtful of Lesley to gift you this book.

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  5. The gods must be shining down on you Fiona, winning the competition, the gift of the beautiful letter box and now the book, how glorious and wonderful for you

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    1. Feeling pretty chuffed I must say Kate - it is such a delightful book on top of the prize book.

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  6. The pages you have shown are fascinating, Fiona. This is the perfect gift for you and I know you will get so much pleasure from it. Thank you for sharing this with your readers.

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  7. It is a real stunner Carol - I just love it! It is also this little piece of history contained within a book if you know what I mean? A fascinating moment in time captured forever, with this unique voice. Go well.

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I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.