Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Art and History of Calligraphy, Book Review


Do you have Patricia Lovett's book Calligraphy and Illumination...?  often refer to it. 

When I learned she published another book I went online cyber-Monday and bought myself a Christmas present. Her recent book The Art and History of Calligraphy, published last year by the British Library.

Since the author is a British professional calligrapher and illuminator you won't be surprised the book emphasized historic manuscripts' lettering. 

Her first chapter shows the high-value of calligraphy shown in her book. There's a chapter on historic manuscript production including quills, vellum brushes, pigments, and gold. And a section on how the letters are made.  

The last, most beautiful section traces writing through the ages. It features 50ish detailed pictures of lettering and manuscripts from the British Library's outstanding collection. 

You'll like the pictures of enlarged few lines showing the letters' tiny elements. There are many photos without illumination, one of writing in shell gold ink on black dyed vellum. 

The book's historic manuscripts include information or pictures on
  • the Bosworth Psalter, the earliest surviving manuscript of the 'New Hymnal' from England
  • the Lacock Cartulary with its wonderfully flourished letters
  • a two-page spread picturing one page of the Luttrell Psalter. 
Lovett's book doesn't stop with the Italian Renaissance but continues modernly including
  • recent renaissance-style calligraphic art by William Morris
  • Shiela Waters "Roundel of the Seasons"
  • a present-day work by Stephen Raw of Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Light By Sunlights Glance"

Lovett's book clearly describes and photographs the artistic skill creating medieval manuscripts. 

I am very pleased with my cyber-Monday purchase. If you're interested, be aware it is not an instruction book. If you want that you'll want her Calligraphy and Illumination... This one is a beautifully photographed and written book about calligraphy art and materials.

Related Prior Post:  
Beginning Illumination, Book Review
8 Scribal Books For Cyber-Monday Ordering















  • ISBN-10: 0712356681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712356688

Here is a sneaky peak inside the book.