Calligraphy by Pam

Table of Contents

The Fine Art of Writing: Calligraphy by Pam

A Brief History of Italic Lettering

Beginning around 1522 while unemployed, Ludovico Arrighi began planning an exemplar specifically designed to instruct the public in italic handwriting. His published invitation suggests that the reader could learn his favored cancellaresca in just a few days. The cancellaresca lettering was one used by the Vatican, where Arrighi was briefly employed as a copiest. Arrighi obtained financial backing from Giorgio Trissino to achieve his goal of making and printing luxury books. Ugo da Carpi was first hired to cut the blocks, followed by Celebrino and later Lautizio Perugino. The latter was a fine craftsman but more comfortable working with gold than serving as a punch-cutter. By April of 1525 Arrighi had issued twenty seven books from his press. By the end of his life another ten were produced. Examination of Arrighi’s La Operina confirms production by a competent printer. The appearance is professional in both design and arrangement. La Operina shows great handwriting on every page yet it is more than just a set of models. The book describes Arrighi’s underlying ovular forms and two basic entry strokes. He covers the spacing of lines, words and letters; and he deals with slant and joins. In keeping with the teachings of Trissino, La Operina includes the letters j and v.

An excellent commentary and display of Arrighi's La Operina has been prepared by Gunnlaugur SE Briem, a talented and knowledgeable calligrapher from Iceland. When you have a moment, I encourage you to page through his presentation using the small arrow keys he provides at the bottom left of each page.

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Sincerely, Pam

Calligraphy & Design © 2008 Pamela R. Bennett