Bibliography of selected copybooks before 1800

  • This bibliography is in progress. It took as its original scaffold a chronological bibliography from Forty Centuries Of Ink by David N. Carvalho (NY: The Banks Law Pub. Co., 1904, 106-112). Items from Carvalho still to be chased down are indicated with an asterisk (*). It was considerably fleshed out with the help of Sybille van Zuylen’s rock-solid Penna Volans, with additions from John Richard Edwards’ “Writing masters and accountants in England” (PDF), as well as BibliOdyssey and Luc Devroye’s type design pages.
  • The focus here is on British copybooks, though notable items from elsewhere are included, particularly from the earlier periods before English copybooks flourished. Not all these titles are the critical favourites, though many are; some are listed because of other factors. I am particularly interested in gender in copybooks, and in any books written for or by women, or which include material addressed to women or discuss women, however briefly.
  • As this list is mainly a working list for my own use, many of the links to the texts are liscensed by my institution, though I have made an effort to provide accessible links (further thanks are due to Sybille van Zuylen here). The reader need not be envious of the proprietorial links as most are either to Early English Books Online (EEBO) or Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO), both early projects. While each was most welcome at the time, the images are nothing like the quality now possible.
  • It is not always easy to trace the publishing history of such ephemeral publications as copybooks, so I would be grateful for any corrections, additions, or hints.


Bock, Gregorius, MS, Scribal pattern book, c. 1510–1517 [54 pp.] [Beinecke]: languages include German/Greek/Latin/Hebrew; hands include gothic textura, round gothic, round humanistic


Vincentino, Ludivico degli Arrighi (fl 1522), La operina di Ludouico Vicentino, da imparare di scriuere littera cancellarescha [] [Library of Congress] [Folger: published with Arrighi’s Il modo de Temperare le Penne of 1523 as Regola da imparare scriuere varii caratteri de littere con li suoi compassi et misure in Venice in 1533 and 1557 ] [Houghton 1724 cartouche, p. 32; 1525 D4v]: the first writing manual on Italic script and still widely used


Vincentino, Ludivico degli Arrighi (fl 1522),  Il modo de Temperare le Penne [Venetia] [Library of Congress 1525]


Tagliente, Giovanni AntonioLo presente libro insegna la vera arte de lo excellente scriuere de diuerse varie sorti de litere le quali se fano per geometrica ragione & con la presente opera ognuno le potra stampare e impochi giorni per lo amaistramento, ragione, & essempli, come qui sequente vederai. Opera del Tagliente nuouamente composta cum gratia nel anno dinra salute []: “at least 30 editions were published in [the 16th] century alone” (PV)


da Carpi, Ugo, Sigismondo Fanti, and Angelo da Modena, Thesavro de scrittori : opera artificiosa, laquale con grandissima arte, si per pratica come per geometria, insegna a scriuere diuerse sorte littere, cioe cancellerescha, merchantescha, formata, cursiua, antiqua, moderna et bastarda, de piu sorte : cum uiarij e bellissimi exempli & altre sorte littere de uarie lingue, cioe grecha, hebraicha, caldea & arabicha : tutte extratte da diuersi et probatissimi auttori, & massimamente da lo praeclarissimo Sigismvndo Fanto, nobile ferrarese, mathematico et architettore eruditissimo, dele mesure e ragione de littere primo inuentore. [Venice : s.n.] [48 leaves] [ 1532] [HathiTrust, 1532]: “First published Rome, 1525. Comprises calligraphic specimens and instructional text copied from [Giovanni Antonio] Tagliente and [Ludovico degli] Arrighi” (

Lucar, Elizabeth (1510–1537), “The first English essay on the subject of “Curious Calligraphy” was by a woman who from all accounts possessed most remarkable facility in the use of the pen as well as a knowledge of languages. Her name was Elizabeth Lucar; as she was born in London in 1510 and died 1537, her work must have been accomplished when only fifteen years of age” (Carvalho, 106).


Mercator, GerardLiterarum latinarum [] [Bildähnlichkeitssuche]: “[T]he first of the genre in the [Low Countries] and only the third manual, chronologically, to deal with italic script” (PV); known for his maps (Devroye)

Palatino, Giovambattista, Libro nuovo d’imparare a scrivere. Rome: Baldassare di Francesco Cartolari: “The last of the three major Italian copy-books of the sixteenth century” (Baltimore). Pub. later as Compendio del gran volume [Gallica 1578] [ 1578] [Folger 1588] [Houghton C2 verso, C3 recto, K3 recto]


Cataneo, Bernardino, MS copybook [tumblr (images of MS from Stephen Harvard, An Italic Copybook: The Cataneo Manuscript, NY: Taplinger, 1980)] [The shape of letters has some excellent images] [Harvard has posted images of f.9, f.10v, f.12v, f.17]


Iciar, Juan de (b. 1523?), Arte subtilissima. por la qual se enseña a escreuir perfectamente (Ortographia practica). En casa de Pedro Bernuz. Imprimio se en Caragoça. Spain [86 leaves] [Houghton] [UCM]: Languages: Spanish, Castilian. Note: “Second edition, enlarged. First published Zaragoza, 1548 under title: Recopilacion subtilissima, intitulada, Orthographia pratica” (Houghton).


Fugger, Wolfgang, Ein nutzlich vnd wolgegrundt Formular, Manncherley schöner schriefften, Als Teutscher, Lateinischer Griechischer, vnnd Hebrayscher Buchstaben, sampt vnterrichtung, wie ein yede gebraucht vnd gelernt soll werden / Stremgtlich zu nük und gut in Truck verordnet durch Wolffganng Fugger Burger zu Nürmberg Anno MDLIII [1553] [Gallica]


Cresci, Giovanni FrancescoEssemplare di piu sorti lettere [] [Gallica, photocopy of 1578 printing]: “Cresci … proposed a speedier, more practical hand for correspondence and book-keeping. … Cresci’s work was extremely influential and shaped the evolution of handwriting in Europe until the beginning of the 20th century” (PV).


Bocskay, Georg (script) and Joris Hoefnagel (illumination), Mira calligraphiae monumenta. Vienna, written 1561–1562; illumination added c, 1591–1596 [Getty] [Facsimile with commentary]


Wyss, Urban, Libellus valde doctus elegans, & vtilis, multa et varia scribendarum literarum genera complectens. Pub. Argentinae [Strasbourg] : Ex officina Theobaldi Bergeri [108 pp.] []


Amphiareo, Vespasiano, Opera di frate Vespasiano Amphiareo, da Ferrara dell’ ordine minore conventuale, nella quale si ensegna a scrivere varie sorti di lettere, et massime una lettera bastarda de lui novamente con sua industria ritrovata […] Pub. In Venetia, MDLXV, 1565 [100 pp.] [Gallica 1565, 1580, 1580]


Perret, Clément (1551–c.1591), Exercitatio alphabetica nova et utilissima, variis expressa lingvis et characteribvs : raris ornamentis, vmbris & recessibvs, picture̦, architecturaeque speciosa : nusquam ante hac edita. [Antwerp : s.n.] [24 leaves] [] [HathiTrust]: “The first copper-plate writing manual. … 33 engraved leaves of alphabets and calligraphy specimens in French, Dutch, English, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin. … All have elaborate grotesque borders, engraved by an unknown artist whose monogram (ATA) appears on the title leaf. Leaf XXII is in mirror writing” (


Cresci, Giovanni Francesco, Il Perfetto Scrittore (Rome) [Engravings:  Andrea Marelli, Cuts: Giovan Francesco Aureri da Crema (ref)] [Gallica 1578 (from microfilm)] [Luc Devroye has some images]: UofWisconsin facsimile ed., 1971 (ref)


Beau-Chesne, Jehan de (c.1538 –1620), and John Baildon, A booke containing diuers sortes of hands as well the English as French secretarie with the Italian, Roman, chancelry and court hands. Also the true and iust proportio[n] of the capitall Romae set forth by Iohn de Beau Chesne. P. and M. Iohn. Baildon. Imprinted at London : By Thomas Vautrouillier dwelling in the blacke-frieres, 1571. [96 pp.]: “[T]he very first English copybook” [PV]. Includes a 102 lines poem in rhyming couplets, “Rules made by E.B. for his children to learn to write by,” a diagram of how, and how not, to hold a pen, and 42 plates. [EEBO; also 1581, 1592, 1602, 1602, 1610] [Folger has some high quality images from 1602 ed.]

Lucas, Francisco, Arte de Escrevir (Spain) [ref. only]


Brechtel, Franz Joachim, Werke der Schönschreibmeister [Works of Master Calligraphers] [BibliOdyssey/flickr]: “The manuscript appears to be [in part] a compilation of calligraphic examples by one of the originators of early fraktur scripts, Johann Neudörffer the Elder, to whom this album is dedicated” (BibliOdyssey).


Beau-Chesne, Jehan de (c.1538 –1620), and John Baildon, attr., A newe booke of copies, containing diuers sortes of sundry hands, as the English and French secretarie, and bastard secretarie, Italian, Roman, chancery, and court hands. / Set forth by the most excellent wryters of the sayd hands for the instruction of the vnskilfull. Cum priuilegio. [Imprinted at London : by Thomas Vautroullier, dvvelling in the Blackefriers by Ludgate.], 1574 [69 pp.]: includes a 102 lines poem in rhyming couplets, “Rules made by E.B. for his children to learn to write by,” a diagram of how, and how not, to hold a pen [Folger 1611], and 32 plates. [EEBO, also c1585 (imperfect)]


Beau-Chesne, Jehan de (c.1538 –1620), Le tresor d’escriture : auquel est contenu tout ce qui est requis et necessaire à tous amateurs dudict art, Lyon, 1580.: “Beauchesne[‘s] second publication … influenced by his travels in Italy” (PV). [Newbury] [Google (this copy is embellished with many practice letters and was possibly set on fire at some point)] [Houghton 1 image]


Gagliardelli, Salvadore, Soprascritte di lettere in forma cancelleresca, corsiva, appartenenti ad ogni grado di persona / di Salvadore Gagliardelli scrittore in Fiorenza ; date in luce in tal carattero per comune vtilità de gli studiosi della buona forma dello scriuere, per esercitarsi nelle accomodate abbreuiature, ne’ tratti diuersi, nelle variate maiuscole, che in esso sono, cosi nello scritto, come anco nel modo del dire di esse soprascritte ; con la tauola per ordine, alla quale ciascuno ricorrerà, perche in essa si dichiarano particolarmente le soprascritte, che si contengono in questo libro ; con l’aggiunta di questa [16-mm. blank] stampa, come à piè della Tauola si dice. Pub. Stampato in Fiorenza : Per l’autore detto di sopra. “Aggivnta della seconda stampa,” p. [23]-[24] at end of Tavola [179 pp.] []: woodcut specimens of chancery hand, p. [25]-[32]


Clement, Francis, The petie schole with an English orthographie, wherin by rules lately prescribed is taught a method to enable both a childe to reade perfectly within one moneth, & also the vnperfect to write English aright. Hereto are newly added 1. verie necessary precepts & patternsof writing the secretary & romaine hands, 2. to number by letters, and figures, 3. to cast accomptes, &c. Imprinted at London : By Thomas Vautrollier dwelling in the black-fryers, 1587. [EEBO]: ninety pages of directions about reading, writing, and arithmatic, and two pages of exemplars, one of Italic and one Secretary. Quite likely just the sort of publication Billingsley deplored in The Pen’s Excellencie (1618). “[R]anks asthe earliest English writing-master whose published work has come down tous” (Heal, 1931, pp. 31-2).


Romano, Giacomo, Il primo libro di scrivere di Iacomo Romano : dove s’insegna la vera maniera delle cancellaresche corsive, e di tvtte qvelle sorti di lettere che a vn bvon scrittore si appartengono di sapere, & che al presente sono in vso : con li avertimenti et regole, sopra ciascvna sorte di lettera, con le quali ogni mediocre ingegno potrà facilmente da se stesso imparare : con il modo di temperar le penne per dette forti di lettere, & come si deuono tenere in mano, per scriuer bene. S[t]ampato in Roma : Per Pietro Spada appresso il propio autore [95 leaves] [] [HathiTrust]: “86 woodcut leaves of alphabets and calligraphy specimens, all within grotesque woodcut borders, the final 35 leaves printed white on black” (


Bales, Peter (1547–1610?), The writing schoolemaster conteining three bookes in one, the first, teaching swift writing; the second, true writing; the third, faire writing. The first booke, entituled; The arte of brachygraphie … The second booke: named, The order of orthographie… The third booke, is, The key of calygraphie … Inuented by Peter Bales. Imprinted at London : By Thomas Orwin: and are to be solde at the authors house in the vpper ende of the Old Bayly, where he teacheth the said artes, [1590] [130 pp.] [EEBO]

Beau-Chesne, Jehan de (c.1538 –1620), A nevv booke, containing all sortes of handes vsually written at this daie in Christendom as the English and French secretarie, the Roman, Italian, French, Spanish, high and low Dutch, Court and Chanceriehandes: with examples of each of them in their proper tongue and letter. Also an example of the true and iust proportion of the Roman capitals. Collected by the best approved writers in these languages, now first published. Imprinted at London : [By R. Field] by William Kearney, 1590. [112 pp.] [EEBO] [Folger, one image]: includes “Rules made by E.B. for his children to learn to write by”


Panke, William, A most breefe, easie and plaine receite for faire writing. Wherin the author being well acquainted with the causes, which in these daies hinders it, hath for the good of his cuntrie, so distinguished and broken euery perticular letter for the true making thereof, and so perfectly and plainely shewed the ready way of true ioyning the same. Both for the Roman and Secretary handes, as any one of ordinarye yeres and capacity, not hindring any other busines, may at his idle times by his own priuate practise, in short time attaine to write, to serue very good vses either in office or otherwise. At London : Printed by E[dward] A[llde] for Iohn Perin, and are to be solde in Paules Churchyard at the signe of the Angell, [1591] [16 pp.] [EEBO]: includes letter to a patron, letter to the reader, notes on forming letters / no exemplars or plates


Scottowe, John, [Alphabet of ornamental capitals used as initials in specimen pages of calligraphy] [England], 1592. [23 leaves] [MS] [Newberry (ref; some images)]


Hondius, Jodocus, Theatrvm artis scribend : varia svmmorvm nostri seculi artificum exemplaria complectens, novem diversis linguis exarata / Judoco Hondio ce̜latore [Amsterdam] [1594] [] [Franckesche Stiftungen]: contains the first printed images by a female calligrapher, two plates by Jacquemyne Hondius, sister to Jodocus Hondius.


Beau-Chesne, Jehan de (c.1538 –1620), Copy-book, Mathieu Greuter, Engraver; Gabriel Chappuis, Contributor, 1600 [69 leaves] [35 plates]: includes some beautiful geometric layouts [Newberry]


Franck, Paul (fl. c. 1570-1601), Kunstrichtige Schreibart : allerhand Versalie[n] oder AnfangsBuchstabe[n] der teütschen, lateinischen und italianischen Schrifften aus unterschiedlichen Meistern der edlen Schreibkunst zusammen getragen. First published 1601 in Nuremberg by the author. Bonacini, C. Arti scrittorie. [ 1655] [HathiTrust 1655] [Public Domain Review, selections]: “The 62 woodcut and 9 engraved plates depict 5 main alphabets.”

Le Bé, Pierre, Bele Prérie où chacun peut voir les lettres tant romaine que de forme en leur fleur et perfection, avec leur vraye proporçion réduite au pied du compas. Paris, 1601 [Gallica]


Tozzi, Pietro Paolo, Antonello Bertozzi,, and Sebastian Zanelli, Ghirlanda di sei uaghi fiori scielti da piu famosi giardini d’Italia : raccolti / da Pietro Paolo Tozzi ; belle lettere, dotte sententie, noui merli, moderne mansioni, leggiadri lauori, vsati numeri ; primo libro., 1604 (Padua) [42 leaves] [HathiTrust] [BibliOdyssey/flickr] []: book on lace


Van de Velde, Jan (1568–1623), Deliciae variarum insigniumq[ue] scripturarum. Pub. Ghedruckt t’Amsterdam : Bÿ Willem Jansz. Bonacini, C. Arti scrittorie [121 pp.] [] [HathiTrust]

Van de Velde, JanSpieghel der schrijfkonste, inden welcken ghesien worden veelderhande geschriften met hare fondementen ende onderrichtinghe uutghegeven. Rotterdam: Jan van Waesberghe, 1605. Engraved by Jacob Matham. [Rijksmuseum]: “In the 59 plates, Velde included specimens of each of the major hands practiced in Europe at the time, and gave ample information on the various cursive hands and the best way to write them. This book is one of the most famous copybooks ever printed [and] many copies can be found online” (PV).


Inglis, Esther, A New Yeeres guift for the right honorable and vertvovs lady, the Lady Arskene of Dirltovn of the hand writing and limming of mee, Esther Inglish, the I of Iannvar, 1606. [England], 1606. [MS] [21 leaves] [Newberry (ref; some images)]


Pavie, MarieLe Premier essay de la plume de Marie Pavie. [Newberry]: “[O]ne of the first writing manuals published by a woman” (PV).

Materot, Lucas, Les Oeuvres de Lucas Materot,… où l’on comprendra facilement la manière de bien et proprement escrire toute sorte de lettre italienne selon l’usage de ce siècle. impr. de J. Bramereau (Avignon), 1608. Engravings by C. Nostradamus, P. Roux, Mathieu Greuter, and Mathiev Greuter. [45 plates] [Gallica] [HathiTrust]: French; downloadable from Gallica.


Picchi, Cesare, Libro primo di cancellaresche corsiue / scritte da Cesare Picchi dvrantino in Roma. In Roma : Joan. Batt. de Rossi … excudit …, Christoforvs Blancvs fecit Romae …, 1609. [24 leaves] [HathiTrust]

Strick, Maria (c. 1577–c. 1625), Tooneel. Der loflijcke schrijfpen en dienste vande constbeminnende ieucht, Volume 1. Jan Janssen excudit, 1618 [78 pp.] [Google Books]: “Maria Strick, one of very few women to have published copybooks, was a very talented penwoman who rightfully won a prize for her beautiful italian hand in 1620…. Her husband beautifully engraved her copybooks and refused to work for other writing masters” (PV).


Strick, Maria (c. 1577–c. 1625), Christelycke A. B. C.; Inhoudende vierentwintich exemplaren van verscheyden geschriften, seer bequaem ende dienstelijck voor de joncheydt, in constighe rymen vervaet. J. van Waesberghe de jonghe, 1611. [Google Books]


Schiratti, Antonio, Opera nella quale vedrete molte caratteri di lettere. c. 1600–1615. Perugia. [112 pp.] [Digital Scriptorium, 47 images]


Gething, Richard, A coppie=booke of the vsuall hands written: sett foorth by Richard Gething mr. in writinge; and are to be soulde at his house in Fetterlane, London, at the signe of the hande and golden penne. [London : s.n.], Anno 1616. [27 leaves] [EEBO]: ded. to Francis Bacon. Exemplars and models; no editorial text. See also “The Hand and Pen; 1645, “Chirographia” and many others (Carvalho).

Tozzi, Pietro Paolo, Ghirlanda di sei vaghi fiori scielti da piu famosi giardini d’Italia : belle lettere, dotte sententie, novi merli, moderne mansioni, leggiadri lavori, usati numeri, 1616 [Gallica 1616, 1621]


Billingsley, Martin (1591–1622), The pen’s exellencie, or, The secretaries delight … together with an insertion of sondrie peeces, or examples of all y[e] vsuall hands of England : as also anaddition of certaine methodicall observations for writing, making of the pen, holding the pen, &c. / written by Martin Billingsley … ; the Greeke & Hebrewe with other peeces never yet extant are hereunto by the authour exactlie added. [London : Are to be solde by Io. Sudbury & George Humble in Popeshead Alley, 1618] [Google Books] [EEBO 1618, 1618, 1620-1630?, 1625?]: “Billingsley’s volume contains about 25 pages of text, gathered like a sandwich around 20 woodblock plates exemplifying the many hands (with additions for Greek and Hebrew) current in early Stuart London. After a brief excoriation of the ‘botching’ scriveners, Billingsley defends the practice of teaching women to write fair hands” (ref).

Davies, John, of Hereford, The writing schoolemaster, or, The anatomie of faire writing wherein is exactlie expressed each seuerall character, together with other rules & documents, coincident to the art of faire and speedy writing. [Before 1618] [EEBO 1620, 1631, 1636, 1648, 1659, 1663, 1667, 1670] [British Library 1663, 1667] [Houghton plate 20]: “The writing schoolemaster … went through sixteen editions by 1636″ [ref] ; “[The writing schoolemaster] was written and published before [Davies’] death in 1618, but the only copies that are known today are posthumous republications” (PV); Carvahlo lists Davies in his bibliography in 1601

Strick, Maria (c. 1577–c. 1625), Schat oft voorbeelt ende verhooninge van verscheijden, geschriften ten dienste vande…, 1618. [Rijksmuseum]


Gething, RichardCalligraphotechnica… [flickr]: “Gething was very highly regarded by his fellow writing masters” (PV).

Ruinetti, Tomaso, Idea del buon scrittore : opera prima. “Nicolaus Borbonius, sculpsit”[Rome] : Intagliata da Christofo. [43 plates] []


Pisani, Francesco, Il libro primo di cancellaresche, corsiue, mercantile et diuerse maniere di lettere bastarde / 
di Francesco Pisani genovese, scrittore in Genoua
. In Genova : Stampato appresso l’autore, & intagliato da Camillo Cungi, l’anno MDCXX [1620] [30 leaves of plates] [HathiTrust]

Van de Velde, JanDuytsche exemplaren van alderhande gheschrifften: seer nut ende bequaem voor de duytsche schoolmeesters ende alle beminders der pennen. Haerlem : D.V. Horenbeeck, L. Serweytius excudeb. []: “The 1st of 3 school books on penmanship by Van de Velde. They are known collectively from the title of the 3rd as: Duijtscher ende Franscher scholen exemplaer-boeck” (


Van de Velde, Jan, Thresor literaire : contenant plusieurs diverses escritures, les plus usitées és escoles Francoyses des Provinces Unies du Pays-bas. Pub. Harlem : Pour M. D.V. Horenbeeck et M. L. Serweytius [12 leaves] [] [HathiTrust]: “The 2nd of 3 school books on penmanship by Van de Velde. They are known collectively from the title of the 3rd as: Duijtscher ende Franscher scholen exemplaer-boeck” (


Brown, David, The new invention, intituled, calligraphia: or, the arte of faire writingvvherein is comprehended the whole necessarie rules thereof; by which anie who is capable and carefull to learne, may without the helpe of any other teacher, under God, both bee informed concerning the right writing of the most usuall characters in the world; and perfectlyinstructed how to write one of the most frequent in Europe, called the secretarie. … By His Majesties scribe, Master David Browne. Sainct-Andrewes : Printed by Edward Raban, printer to the Vniversitie, 1622. With priviledge. [216 pp.] [EEBO]: Notes from EEBO citation: “Colophon reads: Imprinted at Sanct-Andrewes, by Edvvard Raban, printer to the Vniversitie there: and are to be solde in Edinburgh, by Iohn Burdon, at his shoppe, beside the Trone, on the south side of the streete, for sixe shillinges sterling the piece. Running title reads: Calligraphia.” Begins with dedication, defense and praise of writing, directions, &c. Text; no plates.

Comley, William, A new alphabet of the capitall romane knotted letters, fit and ready to set any manner of hand to; with knots vnto the same; for the vnskilfull to practise by. / By William Comley of Henley.  [London? : G. Purslowe], May 1622. [26 leaves of plates] [EEBO

Comley, William, A new booke vvherein is contained copies of the secretarie and romane hands: with an alphabet of capitall antique letters: published for the instruction of the vnskilfull. / By William Comley of Henley.  [London? : G. Purslowe], May 1622. [9 leaves of plates] [EEBO]

Comley, William, A new copy-booke of all the most vsuall English hands: vvith and alphabet of the text capitall great letters, fit for the vnskilfull to practise by. [London? : G. Purslowe], May 1622. [29 leaves of plates] [EEBO]


Strick, Maria (c. 1577–c. 1625), Fonteyne des levens dat is Schoone troostelijcke Biblissche spreucken voor aengevochten ende bedroefde herten na d’ordre van’t A.B.C.: Mede seer nut ende bequaem voor alle beminders der pennen, Volume 1 [56 pp.] [Google Books]


Billingsley, Martin (1591–1622), A coppie booke containing varietie of examples of all the most curious hands written with the breakes of each l[ett]re in the 3 usuall & most necessarie hands of our kingdome exactlie performed according to art. [London] : Are to be sold by Thomas Dainty, 1637 [i.e. for R. Walton, after 1668?] [11 leaves] [2nd ed.] [EEBO 1668]: ten plates and seven pages of directions.

Billingsley, Martin (1591–1622), A copy book containing both experimental precepts and usual practices… [Umeå]: “This copy book focuses a little more on basic forms (and ductus) than Billingsley’s first publication” (PV).


Brown, David, The introduction to the true understanding of the whole arte of expedition in teaching to write Intermixed with rare discourses of other matters, to shew the possibilitie of skill in teaching, and probabilitie of successe in learning, to write in 6. hours. Which tending all to one end, doe serve for two uses. 1. If authors doe excell others in their owneartes, why may not this author excell others in his arte. 2. For removing a vulgare opinion against his native countrey of Scotland, he sheweth that it hath moe excellent prerogatives than any other Kingdome. Whereby it will rather follow, that a Scotishman is so much the more able to prosecute whatsoever hee undertaketh, and therefore so much the more to bee respected, by how so much he ismore ingenuous than one of another nation. [London and Edinburgh : T. Harper [in London] and J. Wreittoun [in Edinburgh]], Anno Dom. 1638. [42 pp.] [Running title reads: The introduction to the true understanding of the whole worke.] [EEBO]: text; one plate.


G. D., Directions for writing set for the benefit of poor schollers. Printed for J. Stafford, London : 1656 [46 pp.] []: “This is a copybook that was printed from wooden engraved plates, probably using some illustrations that were ‘lifted’ from older copybooks, which made it cheaper. The ductus for english secretary letters is given [and] it also contains pages of various instructions and models for the Italian hand and court hand” (PV). Notable for the short but impassioned essay on the significance of printing on the last page.


Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), The pen’s transcendencie… [Gallica]: This was the third of the seventeen copybooks attributed to Cocker. (PV)

Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), Arts Glory: or, the Pen-mans Treasury. Containing various examples of Secretary, Text, Roman, and Italian hands, etc (London: John Overton, 1685) [British Library] [EEBO 1659 (frontispiece and one plate)]


Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), The pen’s triumph: a copy-book. [Ayre, 1658] [61 pp.] [two imperfect copies] [Google Books]


Hodder, JamesThe Pen-mans Recreation: or a Copy-book newly published … Engraven by Edward Cocker. (London: John Overton, 1673) [With a portrait of the author.] [53 leaves] [British Library, 1673] [EEBO, 1660, 1667, 1673]


Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), [The rules of arithmetic], [London : s.n., 1660?] [18 pp.] [22 plates] [EEBO] [incomplete]: despite the title, full of exemplars of different hands as well as directions. References to women with regard to the Roman (italic) and Italian hands (12-13).

Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), Examples of Italian Hands; Invented, Written and Engraved by Edward Cocker. [London: s.n., 166?]. [date?] [WorldCat]


Daniel, Richard, Daniels copy-book, or, A compendium of the most usual hands of England, Netherland, France, Spain, and Italy with the Hebrew, Samaritan, Caldaean, Syrian, AEgyptian, Arabian, Greek, Saxon, Gotick, Craotian, Slavonian, Muscovian, Armenian, Roman, Florentine, Venetian, Saracen, AEthiopian, and Indian characters: … : all very useful for ingenious gentlemen, scholars, merchants, travellers, and all sorts of pen-men / written and invented by Rich. Daniel, Gent. and ingraven by Edw. Cocker Philomath. London : Printed for Mathew Collins and Francis Cossinet …, 1664. [67 leaves] [EEBO 1664]


Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), The guide to penmanship. A copy book containing sundry examples of secretary, text, Roman, Italian court and chancery hands. With extraordinary rules and directions for making, holding & managing the pen, and for the exact and speedie writing of every hand. London: Sold by Robert Snow… and by William Rumbold, 1664. [EEBO] [Peter Fraterdeus has posted some photographs he took of of the copy at the Newbury Library]

Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), The tutor to writing and arithmetick. Invented, written, & engraven by Edward Cocker. London, Sold be Tho. Rooks, 1664 [13 leaves of plates, 56 pp.] [EEBO] [Luna, title page, plate 2]


Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), England’s pen-man, or, Cocker’s new copy-book containing all the handsused in Great Britain : also the breaks of secretary, Roman, and Italian letters, with the exemplifying court-hand : and a copy of the Greek-alphabet. Printed and sold by H. Overton and J. Hoole … London, [1665] [32 leaves] [EEBO] [Luna, 1671: title page, f12r, f12v, f24r, f24v]


Hawkins, John, The clerk’s tutor for writing Written and engraved by Edw. Cocker. London : Printed for Jo. Streater, Ja. Flesher, and Hen. Twyford. Sold in Vine Court Middle Temple, 1667. [360 pp.] [Imperfect: lacks pp. 185-208] [EEBO]: includes a “perpetuall Almanack”: six plates; the rest consists of model documents in both Latin and English, and tables.


Johnson, John, A copy book, containing both experimental precepts and usual practices of fair and speedy writing with the necessaries thereunto belonging … / by J. Johnson, Master of writing. London : Printed by H. Brugis for Iohn Overton …, 1669. Added engraved t.p. with title: A new coppie booke of the vsuall hands of England. London : Printed and sould by P. Stent, 1669. [8 pp.; 22 leaves of plates] [EEBO]: [David Carvalho lists Johnson as having published this copybook in 1650]


Gery, Peter, Gerii, Viri in arte scriptoria, quondam celeberrimi, opera, or, A copiebook of all the hands now in use performed according to the naturallfreenes of the pen by that excellent mr. of writing Peter Gery. [London] : Engraven by Wm. Faithorne and are to be sold by him at his shop … and Thomas Rooks …, [1670] [68 leaves] [EEBO]


Cocker, Edward (1631 – 1676), Magnum in Parvo; or, the Pens Perfection. Inriched with variety of rare examples of all the curious hands written in this Kingdom and the neighbouring nations. With a new invented Alphabet of Verses, comprehending all the principal rules belonging to fair writing … Invented, written and engraven in silver, by E. Cocker. ([London]: John Garrett, [1680?]) [British Library]: “Contains an interesting plate explaining the succession of strokes for an intricate ornament” (PV).

Senault, Louis, Nouueau liure d’escriture ronde et bastarde comme on la pratique, et presentem a la mode. Dédié a monseigneur le duc de Chartres. Paris, Daumont [ca. 1672] [i 10] [Library of Congress]


Hodder, James, Hodders remaines, or, A new twelve penny copy book wherein you may be accommodated with variety of curious hands for the instruction of youth or any manner of employm[en]t. [London] : Sold by Iohn Overton at the White Horse without Newgate, [1675?] [20 leaves] [EEBO link]: exemplars, including Italian, Chancery, Roman, Secretary / no editorial material.

Seamer, James, Arts masterpiece or The pens glory a copy book set forth in the most legible hands extant with excellent directions for the exact and speediewriting of every hand. Invented written & engraven by a lover of that noble and ingenious science James Seamer. [London] : Sold by Samuel Keble at the Turks head in Fleet-Street, [1675?] [4 pp., 15 leaves of plates] [EEBO]


Allais, Jean-Baptiste, L’art d’ecrire par Alais [“L’art d’écrire, ou, Le moyen d’exceler en cet art sans maistre par Alais de Beaulieu.” “Alais scripsit, Senault sculpsit.”]. (Paris, Chez l’auteur, au coin de la ruë du Harlay, 1680) [12 pp., 24 plates] Engraved by Louis Senault. [Library of Congress]

Tensini, Agostino, La uera regola dello scriuere : utile à giouani. Si vende in Bassano : Al negozio Remondini, [ca. 1680?] [16 plates] [HathiTrust]: Italian

Watson, Thomas, A copy book enriched with great variety of the most useful and modish hands adorned with a whole alphabet of great letters … / by Thomas Watson … London : Printed for Nathanieil Ponder … [26 pp.] Some plates signed: “Elder sculp.” [EEBO 1680, 1683, 1700, 1700]


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), The new a-la-mode secretarie: or, Practical pen-man, a new copy-book. Wherein the bastard Italians, commonly called the new-a-la-mode, round hands, mixtrunning hands, and mixt secretary’s, are so mod[el’d] and composed, as to dispatch business with facility and neatness. Written with much variety, and performed according to the nature, freedom, and tendency of the pen. [London] Sold by Hen. Hatley … Sam. Crouch … and Ben. Alsop …, [1682] 25 Plates engraved by John Sturt [EEBO 1682, 1686]: First published in 1680 as A la mode secretarie or Practical pen-man. Attacks pirates and pretenders in the preface.

Perlingh, Ambrosius, Schat kamer van verscheyde geschriften. Pub. [Amsterdam? : s.n.] “G. & J. de Broen excudit.”[41 pp./18 leaves] [] [HathiTrust]: Dutch

Weston, Thomas, Ancilla calligraphiae or The handmaid to fair writing being an essey of the pen and graver. Performed for private divertisment and to please some particular friends by Thomas Weston gent alij multa persiciunt nos nonnulla conamur. [London : s.n., 1682?] [29 leaves] [Robert White, engraver(?)] [EEBO]: exemplars / no editorial material


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), The accomplished clerk, or, Accurate penman a new copy book containing variety of usefull examples showing ye most natural and clerk like way of writing all the usual hands of England / by John Ayres. London : Sould by ye author …, [1683?] [27 pp.] [EEBO 1683, 1700]

Seamer, James, A compendium of all the usuall hands written in England performed according to the true genuine freedom and naturall tendencie of the pen / invented, written, and engraven by James Seamer. [London : s.n., 1683] [4 pp.; 23 leaves of plates] [EEBO 1683]

Smith, John, To the Rt. Worp’ll the President, Tre’ar & Governors of Christs Hospitall, London, this compendium of writing, being a small specimen of all the usuall hands of England, is most humbly offered to your worsh’ps patronage hoping you will favorably accept the same as an humble acknowledgment of the many and signal favours confer’d upon Your Wor’ps servant John Smith / done by John Smith, writing-master in Christs Hospital, London ; engraven by Iohn Sturt … [London : s.n., 1683] [single sheet] [EEBO]: bad image of what looks like a fascinating sampler of various hands.


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), Youth’s Introduction to Trade: an Exercise-book, Chiefly Designed for the Use of the Writing-school, London [WorldCat ref.]


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), The striking copy book, containing various alphabets by comand of hand designed for the improvement of youth at the writing school neer St. Pals School, in St. Pauls Churchyard / by John Ayres. [London : s.n., 1687?] [13 leaves of plates] [EEBO]: alphabets of capital letters


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), The trades-mans copy book, or, Apprentices companion wherein is shewn him copys of receits, bills of parcells, bills of debt, bills of exchange, invoyces, accounts of sales &c : writen in all the merchant-like runing [sic] mixt hands now in use, first designed for the authors, scholars, now published for ye advantage of industrious and ingenious youth / by John Ayres. [S.l.] : Sold by the author and Sam. Crouch, [1688?] [36 pp.] [DNB says 1687] [EEBO]


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), The penmans daily practise a cyfering book shewing much variety of command of hand with examples of all the running mixt hands now in vse/ by John Ayres ; Sturt sculp:. [S.l.] : Sold by ye author, at ye hand and Pen in Pauls C.yard., [1690?] [34 leaves] [EEBO]: arithmetic, weights & measures, and beautiful flourishes.

Noon, Edward, Brachyarithmia or The rules of arithmetick in a short and easie method Written in a variety of useful hands. By Edward Noon teacher of writing& accompts, at the Hand & Pen in Maiden-lane, Covent Garden. [London] : Will: Elder sculpsit, [1690?] [25 leaves] [EEBO]

Wigin, Eleazer, Practical arithmetick, an introduction to ye whole art wherein the most necessary rules are fairly describ’d in the usuall hands adorn’d with great variety of flourishesperform’d by command of hand : designed to be interleav’d for ye more speedy fitting of youth for merchandize or trade. London : Sold by I. Lenthall …, [169-?] [60 pp.] [EEBO]


Elder, William, The modish pen-man, or, A new copy book containing variety of all the usual hands now practised in England … / by William Elder. [London] : Sold by Chr. Coningsby …, [1691?] [19 leaves of plates] [EEBO]: Elder also apparently wrote conduct literature for women, and he engraved works for Alexander Brodie (1696), Edward Noon (1690), Thomas Watson (1680), and others.


Senault, Louis, Livre d’écriture representant naivement la beauté de tous les caracteres financiers mainten.t a la mode . Avec un traité, contenant les veritables moyens pour apprendre facilement à bien escrire, et parvenir en peu à la connoissance de cet art. Escrit et gravé par Louis Senault escrivain juré. Dédié à monsiegneur Colbert. Pub.  A Paris, chez P. Drevet rüe S.t Jacques, a l’Anonciation [entre 1692 et 1703]. Avec privilege du Roy [Gallica]


Moxon, Joseph, Regulae trium ordinum literarum typographicarum, or, The rules of the three orders of print letters viz. the [brace] Roman, Italick, English, [brace] capitals and small : shewing how they are compounded of geometrick figures, and mostlymade by rule and compass : useful for writing masters, painters, carvers, masons, and others that are lovers of curiosity. London : Printed for James Moxon, at the Sign of Atlas in VVarwick Lane, and at his shop at the 3 Bells in Ludgatestriet at the West end of St. Pauls Church, 1693. 2nd. ed. [52 pp.] [7 plates] [EEBO]: mainly technical description.

Williams, Caleb, Nuncius Oris: a round-hand coppy-book. Whereby youth may or accommodated with curious coppies, beginning with all the letters of the alphabet. Invented, written, and engraven by Caleb Williams. [London : Sold by I. Pask stationer at ye 3 Ink Bottles in Castle Alley on the W. end of the R. Exchange], 1593 [i.e. 1693] “Autodidactus a round-hand coppy-book composed for the ready dis-patch of busines; & performed by the natural freedom of ye pen.” [16 leaves] [Google Books] [EEBO]: David N. Carvalho lists the date of first publication as 1684.


Snell, Charles, The Pen-Man’s Treasury open’d, a new essay for the improvement of … writing in ye English, French and Italian hands, etc. [With portrait of author. Engraved by W. Elder.], (London: [1693?])  [British Library]: “Snell is among the penmen who introduced the french Batarde … to the English public” (PV). NB. David N. Carvalho notes this text as having first been published in 1693.


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), Tutor to penmanship [engraved by John Sturt] [flickr] [EEBO 1698]: “The traditional hands used in England and the Italian hand still occupy a good amount of space in this publication, but we can already recognize the future English hand” (PV).

Elder, William, The youngman’s companion a new copy book containing samples of ye usual hands now practised in England, very usefull for all learners, especialy such as want the assistance of able masters. [London] : Sold by Rob. Vincent … & Chr. Coningsby …, [1695] [14 leaves.] [EEBO] [ECCO 1710]: exemplars; no editorial material.

Hatton, EdwardThe Merchant’s Magazine: or, Trades man’s treasury … The fifth edition corrected and improv’d. [With plates, including a portrait.], (London: Chr. Coningsby; Dan. Midwinter, 1707) [BL]: “This book is a manual of arithmetic that was successful enough to go through a number of republications until at least 1734. It contains 9 plates written in the italian hand by the author” (PV).

Seddon, John (1644-1700), Penman’s Paradise both Pleasant & Profitable [flickr]: “[Seddon] excelled in the ‘ornamental’ part of writing and adorned the pages of this copybook with lots of examples of ‘command of hand’ (flourishes)” (PV).


Brodie, Alexander, The penn’s practice, a new copy book containing sundry examples necessary for ye accomplishmt. of clerks mert-apprentices &c by Alex Brodie writing-master in Edinburgh. W. Elder sculp [Edinburgh : s.n., 1696?] [30 pp.] [EEBO]


Ayers, John (fl. 1680–1700), The Paul’s school round hand in two books : the one shewing the strong round hand ye other the mixt running round hand as they are taught by ye author at ye Hand and Pen in St. Pauls Church-yard. [London] : Sold by ye [author], [1700] [EEBO]: aphorisms, each beginning with a letter of the alphabet. No editorial material.


Banson, William, The merchant’s penman: A new copy book of the usual hands now in practice by most book-keepers in Europe. By William Banson, master of the free-writing-school in New-Castle upon Tyne. [London] [54 pp.] [ECCO] [Folger, title page (two colour)]


Shelley, George (ca. 1666–ca. 1736), The Penman’s Magazine, or a new Copy Book of the English, French, and Italian Hands … adorn’d with … figures and fancies … after the originals of … J. S. Perform’d by G. Shelley … supervis’d and publish’d by T. Read. (Upon this performance of penmanship, a poem, by N. Tate.), (London: 1705) [British Library]: “George Shelley … played a major role in the development of the Round Hand” [PV] and wrote several pages for “Bickman’s Universal Penman” (Carvalho).


Raynor, JohnThe Paul’s Scholar’s Copy Book, containing the round, and round-text hands with alphabets at large of the Greek and Hebrew, etc, ([London]: [1709])  [British Library]: “The influence of Shelley’s ornaments is … visible in this book” (PV).

Shelley, George (ca. 1666–ca. 1736), Natural writing in all the hands, with variety of ornament, by George Shelley. [London] : At the Hand and Pen in Warwick Lane, G. Bickham London sculpsit, [1709]. [27 pp.] [ECCO] [Harvard (pl. 5)]: “Natural Writing is Shelley’s major copybook” (PV).


Clark, John (1688-1736), The penman’s diversion a new copy-book; Containing the usual hands of Great Britain After the most Free and Natural Manner for Business; Adorn’d with variety of loose and easy figures & Flourishes, By Command of Hand Invented and Performed by John Clark W. M. At the Hand and Pen in Woodstreet, London. Where Youth may Board. Geo: Bickham sculpsit. London : sold by Henry Overton at the white House without Newgate London, [1710?] [21 pp.] [ECCO]: [Carvalho said 1708]

Shelley, George (ca. 1666–ca. 1736), Alphabets in all the hands with great variety of capital & small letters done for the use of the writing school of Christ-Hospital London by George Shelley writing Mr G. Bickham sculpsit. London] : Sold by H. Overton at the White Horse without newgate London, [1710?] [British Library] [ECCO]


Bickham, George, aka George Bickham the Elder (1684–1758),  Round Text. A new copy-book, (Hammersmith: Chas. Price, [1712?])  [BL]: “George Bickham is a major figure in the history of the English Round Hand” (PV).

Snell, CharlesThe art of writing in its theory and practice [flickr]: “[Snell’s] second publication was a copybook meant for his students [at the Free Writing School]. In it [he] criticized … unnecessary ornamentation, and proceeded to set up a standard of rigid formality in writing” (PV). Focus on copperplate, Italian hand, Secretary.


Johnson, Humphrey, Youth’s recreation: a new copybook: containing the usual hands of Great Britain; with easy and familiar command of hand. By Humphry Johnson. London : engraved by Joseph Nutting, sold by Henry Overton, [1713] [15 pp.] [ECCO]: [Carvalho said 1711]

Ollyffe, Thomas (d. ca. 1725), The practical pen-man a new copy book containing the usual hands of England by T: Ollyffe. [London] : At the Hand & Pen in Fetter Lane London, [1713?] [25 pp.] [ECCO 1713, 1758, 1760?]


Clark, John (1688–1736), Writing improv’d or Penmanship made easy In it’s useful and ornamental parts: with various examples of all the hands now practis’d in Great Britain, by John Clark writing-master and accomptant, [George B]ickham sculpsit. London : Sold by the author at his House in Warwick Lane, [1714] [34 pp.] ECCO 1714, 1744]

Shelley, George (ca. 1666–ca. 1736), The Second part of Natural Writing: [flickr]


Baürenfeind, Michael, Vollkommene Wiederherstellung der bißher sehr in Verfall gekom[m]enen gründlich & zierlichen Schreibkunst […] [Gallica]

More, Robert  (1671–ca. 1727), Of the first invention of writing. An essay. Compendiously treating of the whole art. … [London] : Sold by the author, and by Major Hatley, and Mr Holland, in St Paul’s Church-Yard … [1716]. [ECCO 1716]: editorial material and six plates


Brooks, William (1696-1749), A delightful recreation for the industrious. A copybook of plain and practical writing … Invented and performed by William Brooks. … Georgius Bickham Londini sculp. London : printed for John Bowles & Carington Bowles, [1765? 1750 ed. also extant]. [22 pp.] [ECCO] [image: “To the Ladies“] Contributor to The Universal Penman.*

Nicholas, Abraham, “Various Examples of Penmanship.” 1722, “The Compleat Writing Master.” Contributed to The Universal Penman.*


MarchandNouveaux principes d’ecrire italienne avec des exemples suivant l’ordre de Madame de Maintenon pour les demoiselles de la Maison Royale de St Louis établie à St Cyr. Par le maitre à écrire de Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne. Paris, 1721. [Image: posture]


Manuel de Andrade de Figueiredo, Nova escola para aprender a ler, escrever, & contar. Pub. Lisboa Occidental : Na officina de Bernardo da Costa de Carvalho. [275 pp.] [] [Houghton Plate 8]: “Primeira parte.” No more published


Samuel Sympson, A new book of Cyphers … wherein the whole alphabet… [British Library]: monograms


John Langton, “The Italien Hand.”*


John Day, writing master and contributor to The Universal Penman.*


Gabriel Brooks, writing master and contributor to The Universal Penman.*


Bickham, George, aka George Bickham the Elder (1684–1758), Youth’s Instructor in the Art of Numbers. A new cyphering book… [British Library]: written in Round Hand

John Bland, “Essay in Writing.” Also contributor to The Universal Penman.*

Zachary Chambers, “Vive la Plume.” Contributor to The Universal Penman.*

Wellington Clark, writing master and contributor to The Universal Penman.*

Solomon Cook, “The Modish Round Hand.”*

William Keppax, writing master and contributor to The Universal Penman.*

William Leckey, “A Discourse on the Use of the Pen.” Contributor to The Universal Penman.*


Anon., The Young Clerk’s Assistant; Or Penmanship Made Easy, Instructive and Entertaining, Etc. First pub. by Richard Ware, later by T. Lowndes. Engraved by George Bickham [122 pp.] [HathiTrust (1787)] [Google (1781)(1787)] [Published by Dover as George Bickham’s Penmanship Made Easy (Young Clerks Assistant)] : 1781 ed.: advice to gentlemen, ladies (pp. 24-25); poems addressed to ladies (pp. 38 ff.) [roughly one third]. Both addressed to “learners” (pp. 5-6); have maxims, to youth in round hand and to ladies in italian (pp. 17 ff.); masc. names in round hand, fem. in italian (pp. 31 ff.). 1787 ed. has added address to young ladies (p. 8). “This book is sometimes attributed to Bickham who engraved it for Richard Ware, who was a publisher. It includes a beautiful alphabet of capitals” (PV).


Bickham, George, aka George Bickham the Elder (1684–1758), The Universal Penman [Google (extract)] [Images]: issued in 52 parts between 1733 and 1741 / still in use today (available in Dover reprint) / includes work of twenty-five highly regarded calligraphers of the time: Emanuel Austin** (22 pp.), George Bickham the Younger (c. 1706–1771), John Bickham (Bickham père), John Bland (1702-1750), Gabriel Brooks* (1704–1741), William Brooks, Zachary Chambers, Joseph Champion, Willington Clark**, Edward Dawson*, John Day*, Nathaniel Dove**, Moses Gratwick*, John Holden**, William Kippax, William Leekey, Richard Morris**, Abraham Nicholas, Peter Norman*, John Oldfield**, George Shelley, John Shortland*, Timothy Treadway*, Samuel Vaux, William Webster*, and Bright Whilton* (but not Mary Johns). *Nothing else extant. **Material extant unrelated to copybooks.


Adam à S. Stephano, Gründliche Anweisung zu Teutsch- und Lateinischer Schreib-Kunst. “P. Adamo à S. Stephano è Scholis Piis scripsit; Jo. Ant. Leichamschneider et Thomas Bohacz sculpserunt” [Vienna, Austria : s.n.] [69 leaves of plates] [] [HathiTrust]: German


Bickham, George J., known as George Bickham the Younger  (c. 1706–1771), writing master and son of George Bickham (or George Bickham the Elder): contributor to The Universal Penman.*

Richards, William (fl. 1730-1763), The Compleat Penman, or, Young Clerk’s Companion. [London]: Sold by the author; also, by J. Wilcox…; and B. Cole, engraver…, [1738?]: “Identified as “Master of the Boarding School in Ratcliff Highway London,” Richards includes samples of writing by various penmen as well as his own work” [ref.] [ECCO 1747, 1753]: Carvalho lists Richards in 1720


Jeremiah Andrews, writing master and tutor to King George III.*

Nathaniel Dove, “The Progress of Time,” and contributor to The Universal Penman.*


J. CastroThe Merchant’s Assistant and Clerk’s Instructor, London.


William LeekeyDiscourse on the use of the pen… [Google Books]: “The only examples of Leekey’s penmanship are in … the Universal Penman. [T]his pamphlet … was printed in letterpress, no plates were included” (PV).


Mary Johns, microscopic writer and author.*


George BickhamThe British Monarchy, or a chorographical description… []: “[N]ot strictly speaking a copybook, but … it contains typical models of the Round Hands” (PV).

George BickhamThe Drawing and Writing Tutor [Gallica]: “[I]llustrated instructions about drawing and some basic examples of the Round Hand” (PV).


Charles Woodham, “A Specimen of Writing, in the most Useful Hands now Practised in England.”*


George Bickham, The Pensylvania and Philadelphia writing-master. A new county copy-book. Containing, an accurate, though compendious description of the above county… To which is added, an essay towards a further improvement of a hand for business…. The Whole contrived for the Use of both Sexes: And it is presumed, will sufficiently answer the Method recommended. Written, and engraved on copper plates, by George Bickham. [London] : Sold by him [George Bickham] in May’s Buildings, Covent Garden, Price [blank] and by all the booksellers and stationers in Great Britain, and Ireland, and by all news-carriers in town and country, [1750?]. [10 pp.] [ECCO]

George Bickham, The surrey and Southwark writing-master. A new county copy-book. Containing, an accurate, though compendious description of the above county, … To which is added, an essay towards a further improvement of a hand for business…. The Whole contrived for the Use of both Sexes: And it is presumed, will sufficiently answer the Method recommended. Written, and engraved on copper plates, by George Bickham. [London] : Sold by him [George Bickham] in May’s Buildings, Covent Garden, Price [blank] and by all the booksellers and stationers in Great Britain, and Ireland, and by all news-carriers in town and country, [1750?]. [8 pp.] [ECCO]: Business, Round, Italian, Engrossing, & German hands mentiond

Champion, Joseph (1709-ca. 1765), Penmanship exemplified in all the variety of hands used in Great Britain: being a complete collection of Alphabetical Copies, In the Round Text; The Modern Round Hand for Business; The Running Hand for Correspondence; The Italian Hand for the Use of the Ladies; The Secretary Hand for Ingrossing: With the Addition of other Examples in each of the aforesaid Hands: And in the German Text, and in the Court Hand. By Joseph Champion and George Bickham. London : printed for John Bowles, at No. 13. in Cornhill, [1750?]. [41 pp.] [ECCO]

Chinnery, WilliamWriting and drawing made easy, amusing and instructive : containing the whole alphabet in all the characters now us’d, both in printing and penmanship : each illustrated by emblematic devices and moral copies : calculated for the user of schools and curiously engraved by the best hands. London : Printed for and sold by T. Bellamy [] [Hathi Trust] [ECCO]: “[A] very peculiar publication” (PV).

John Oldfield, “Honesty.” He wrote one piece in The Universal Penman.*


Edward Lloyd, “Young Merchants Assistant.”*


George Bickham, The British youth’s instructor: or, The useful penman. A new copy-book. Containing alphabets and sentences in round text, large and small round hand, and running hand: an abstract of the theory of writing, initial letters, struck capitals, and other curious decorations. Written, by several of the best masters, and engrav’d by George Bickham Senr. London : Printed for and sold by Robt. Sayer at the Golden Buck opposite Fetterlane Fleetstreet, 1754. [43 pp.] [ECCO (1754)(1755)]

George Bickham, The English monarchical writing-master. A new county copy-book. … To which is added, an essay towards a further improvement of a hand for business; … Written, and engraved on copper plates, by George Bickham. [London] : Sold by him [George Bickham] in May’s Buildings, Covent Garden, and by all the booksellers and staioners in Great Britain, and Ireland, [1754]. [43 pp.] [ECCO]

Champion, Joseph (1709-ca. 1765), New and complete alphabets… [British Library] [ECCO (1760)]


Richard Clark, “Practical and Ornamental Penmanship.”*

Vicum, Johann Friedr, Der getreue Schreibemeister / herausgegeben durch Johann Friedr. Vicum in der Chur-Fürstl. Sächssl. Residenz-Stadt Dresden. 1758 [Hathi Trust]


Champion, Joseph (1709-ca. 1765), and John Bland (1702-1750), Penmanship illustrated… [British Library]: models and exemplars in Round Text, Round Hand and Running hand


Benjamin Webb, writer of copy books, etc.*


Baers, Jan, Kabinet der schrijf-konst. Te Amsterdam: By Adam Meyer [66 pp.] [, Vols. 1, 2]: “Two title leaves and 58 engraved plates of alphabets and examples of calligraphy.”


Champion, Joseph (1709-ca. 1765), The penman’s employment a new copy book; containing choice variety of examples in all the hand of England, … By Joseph Champion, … J. Howard sculpsit. London : printed for John Bowles & Son & John Ryall, 1762. [44 pp.] [ECCO]

Diderot, “L’art d’écrire réduis à des demonstrations vraies et faciles avec des explications claires pour le Dictionnaire des Arts par Paillasson Expert Ecrivain,” Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire des sciences, des arts et des méiers. (Series of plates issued ca. 1762-77) [Images]


Massey, William, The origin and progress of letters. An essay, in two parts. The first shewing when, and by whom letters were invented…. The second part consists of a compendious account of the most celebrated English penmen, with the Titles and Characters of the Books they have published both from the Rolling and Letter Press … a new Species of Biography never attempted before in English. The whole collected from undoubted authorities, by W. Massey, Master of a Boarding School for many Years at Wardsworth in Story. London : printed for J. Johnson, opposite the Monument, 1763. [356 pp.] [ECCO]


Champion, Joseph (1709-ca. 1765), The young penman’s daily practice, in the current hands & forms of business. A new copy book; … By Joseph Champion. … J Howard sculpsit. London : printed for & sold by Robt. Sayer, & Carington Bowles, [1765?]. [19 pp.] [ECCO]

I.M.R., Institutio ad Gallicum et Italicum modum Latine scribendi, in usum iuventutis accommodata. Augustae Vindelicorum : Impensis Jo. Georgii Hertelii [22 pp.] []: “Engraved throughout. Plates signed by Tobias Conrad Lotter as engraver and by Hertel as printer” (


Polanzani, Francesco, La penna da scrivere all’ uso corrente : operetta nuova, la quale contiene diversi alfabeti, varie sentenze morali, alcune formule per le soprascrizioni, per le cambiali, per le polizze di mare, lettere di vettura, ed altre scritture di commercio, sullo stile d’oggigiorno, et in fine una tavola de’ numeri romani / Felix Polanzani fecit. In Roma : Presso Pietro, e Giambattista Samonati alla sapienza, [1768?] [Trans. The Writing Pen: a new book containing several alphabets and various moral judgements as well as descriptive formulae, bills of exchange, maritime policies, waybills, and other trade writings in the current style, with a final table of Roman numerals (BibliOdyssey)] [Houghton]


John Gardner, “Introduction to the Counting House.”*


Champion, Joseph, Jr.Penmanship or the art of writing [British Library] [ECCO]: directions rather than models.

Rossignol, Louis, Nouveau livre d’ecriture d’après les meilleures exemples de Rossignol. “Gravé par Le Parmentier.” Pub: A Paris : Chez Daumont. Engraved title-page by Johann Baptist Babel after Mondon [20 leaves of plates] []


Roberts, P., A New Set of Copies for Ladies: in a hand which is humbly presum’d to be better calculated for them, than any that has hitherto been offer’d for their imitation, written by P. Roberts at Putney Academy, in the 13th year of his age. London : Printed for Robt. Sayer, No. 53 in Fleet Street, Octr. 20, 1772. Engraved by Edward Thorowgood [7 leaves].


Demoser, Georg Sixtus, Tirolische Schönschreibekunst : für die Schuljugend. Pub. Zu Innsbruck : [s.n.] [16 leaves/41 pp.] []


Russell, JohnA complete and useful book of cyphers… [British Library]: monograms.


Tomkins, ThomasThe Beauties of Writing [flickr] [Image: “Elegance of taste“]: “Tomkins … used a pointier, finer pen, which made the contrast between very thin hairlines and thick downstrokes more dramatic” (PV).


Browne, SamuelGeneral Rules to be observed in writing the Round-hands. London. [British Library]


Edward Powell, writing master and designer.*

Tronte, Gennaro, Nuovo libro di caratteri, ovuero, L’arte d’imparare a bene scrivere senza maestro ricavato dal Tronte, e d’altri celebri scrittori coll’aggiunta delle soprascritte, e titoli di lettere. Pub. Napoli : Presso il librajo Nunzio Rossi, 178? [41 pp] [14 engraved plated] []


Butterworth, EdmundButterworth’s Universal Penman or the beauties of writing… (Edinburgh) [Gallica (extract)]

Tomkins, ThomasNew large text and Dutch striking alphabets : with a variety of examples in the hands most approved for business []: “[L]ess ornamental than [Tomkins’] previous [copybook]” (PV).


Langford, RichardA complete set of rules and examples for writing with accuracy & freedom [British Library]: round hand.


Braun, Johann, Deutsche und Französische Vorschriften: geschrieben u. gegraben.  À Mulhouse : [s.n.], 1793 [40 pp] []: exemplars of German and French writing

Langford, RichardA copybook of capitals [British Library]: “[A] set of elegant capitals in the round hand” (PV).


Roberts, P.The Writing Master’s Assistant [Google Books (flawed copy)]


Milns, WilliamThe penman’s repository: containing seventy correct alphabets, a valuable selection of flourishes and a variety of new designs. [London]: J. Walker, 1795. [flickr]: “Miln’s only copybook, it contains … various alphabets and a few beautiful layouts” (PV). (There is, however, a variation with “twenty correct alphabets“)

Pixis, Johann Friederich, Vollständiger Unterricht der Schönschreibkunst für die Kurpfälzische Jugend sowohl als auch für alle Liebhaber derselben : mit allergnädigstem kurfürstlichem privilegio. Pub. [Augsburg] : Gestochen von Jos. Marianus in Augsburg [71 pp.] []


Webb, JosephWebb’s useful penmanship : being the last work of this kind: being his last work of this kind : exhibiting a variety of excellent examples in text, round, & mercantile hands : adapted for the use of academies and schools. London : Printed for Laurie & Whittle [42 pp.] [Hathi Trust] []: “This is a simple looking copybook in the style typical of the end of the 18th century” (PV).


Alderson, James, Alderson’s rudiments of penmanship, engraved by Ashby. Four copy-books. Ashford : published as the act directs, November the 1st, 1797, by the author, Ashford-Academy, and sold by H. Ashby, London, 1797-98. [178 pp.] [ECCO]

Palmer, Charlotte (c. 1762 – 1834 or after), A newly-Invented copy-book, by Charlotte Palmer. London : Printed, for the author, by H.L. Galabin, Ingram-Court, Fenchurch-Street, and sold by E. Newbery, at the Corner of St. Paul’s Church-Yard, London, M. DCC. XCVII. [1797] [20 pp.] [ECCO]

Williamson, Richard, Williamson’s Penmanship for the use of schools [British Library (possibly incomplete)]


Smith, DuncanThe Academical Instructor : A New Copy Book Containing Alphabets [Google Books (at times illegible)]: round and running hands

William G. Wheatcroft, “The Modern Penman.”*

[Image: The Italian hand by John Ayres, 1695]

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