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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 30 October 2002
This is an excellent book--both for reference and for writing medieval scripts with authenticity.
Its most outstanding feature, however, is its chronological presentation of the evolution of the various scripts...explained in the context of what was happening in the western world at the time, and in the convents and monasteries in particular.
The book is rich with plates showing the great diversity within the various scripts--with examples both from the great handwritten manuscript libraries of the world and from the author's own private collection.
The book is pure pleasure for a medieval calligraphy enthusiast!
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on 24 December 1997
My hobby is the Middle Ages. I coordinate a scriptorium, teaching people in my local area how to do medieval style calligraphy and illumination. If a student can only afford one calligraphy book, I recommend this one! It is the best book available for those who want to work in the style of the middle ages and rennaisance. It includes a basic primer for the beginning calligrapher. More advanced artists will use the examples of the hands as a constant resource.
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on 6 May 2010
AFTER BUYING/READING/GNASHING MY TEETH OVER MANY BOOKS ON CALLIGRAPHY, I FOUND THIS SUPERB BOOK. THE REST ARE USUALLY FULL OF REGURGITATED STUFF YOU CAN, FRANKLY, GET OFF THE 'NET FOR FREE; THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE NORMALLY IDENTICAL TO ARTICLES FROM INTERNET AND I LEARN NOTHING NEW. SICK OF SUCH REPETITIVE SHEEP'S CLOTHING, I FINALLY RECEIVED THIS BOOK AND FOUND IT HAD TEETH... AT LAST; A WOLF OF A BOOK!
I WANT TO YELL IT OUT TO CALLIGRAPHERS EVERYWHERE; THIS IS A FAR SUPERIOR BOOK TO ANY I HAVE READ BEFORE. IT HAS CHARM. IT IS WELL WRITTEN. IT IS INTERESTING, INFORMATIVE, THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND ENABLING. BACKGROUND INFORMATION MAKES YOU FEEL RATHER AS IF YOU HAVE SLIPPED UNSEEN INTO SOME MONASTERIAL ROOM OR OTHER AND ARE PEERING OVER THE SHOULDER OF SOME MONK WHO, ALTHOUGH TIRED, COLD AND DISGRUNTLED, IS HONOUR-BOUND TO PRODUCE HIS MOST GLORIOUS WORK , PUN-FILLED OR OTHERWISE.
THIS IS A REFRESHING CHANGE TO THE OTHER BOOKS I HAVE SEEN... INSPIRING YET UNASSUMING, IT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY.
... AND NOT A SHEEP IN SIGHT.
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Marc Drogin's book is a great resource for those who want to be able to write some of the major scripts employed between the 1st and 15th centuries. Each script is introduced with a brief history and several facsimiles of real examples with accompanying transcriptions before a full page diagram on how the letters are formed followed by relevant technical notes. Before the treatment of the scripts themselves there is a more general introduction on the historical development of scripts, full of anecdote, though some holes can be picked in the historical narrative (though this is not relevant to scripts per se).

The scripts covered are:
Roman Rustic - 1st-6th century
Uncial - 3rd-6th century
Artificial Uncial 6th-10th century
Roman Half-Uncial 3rd-9th century
Insular Majuscule 6th-9th century
Insular Minuscule 6th century onwards
Luxeuil Minuscule 7th-8th century
Carolingian Minuscule 8th-12th century
Early Gothic 11th-12th
Gothic Textura Quadrata 13th-15th century
Gothic Textura Prescisus 13th century onwards
Gothic Littera Bastarda 13th century onwards

A good further resource is An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography.
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on 9 April 1997
In his usual clear, comprehensive, and comprehensible style, Marc Drogin details the evolution of calligraphy from its origins to its near demise at the advent of the printing press. Not only does he provide extensive illustrations of all the hands he discusses, he also explains how and why each hand developed and eventually superseded the preceding hands, amplifying his calligraphic information with much social, political, and historical background. Along the way he presents the history of books and book production, including detailed descriptions of scriptoria and humorous tidbits of trivia, like the dreadful curse which was directed at would be book thieves. While medieval calligraphy may, upon the surface, appear to be a very dry subject, Marc Drogin's colorful and interesting style infuses it with life, making this book a valuable resource for medievalists, art historians, and calligraphers alike.--Shirley Sponholtz
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on 21 April 2013
This is another Dover Publication, but not altogether typical of the genre. It covers numerals, layout and materials, sources - with a useful listing of references, materials and resources, facsimile sources, supplies, etc. For those with talent, the examples shown are 'manageable'; for myself with no artistic training or talent they are reproduced in a size compatible with tracing onto a greetings card. Apart from the history of the original works, there is an exhaustive 'how to' in respect of free-hand lettering which includes 'lifting off' and hand pressure when creating, which - even in my case ought to repay careful study. I am pleased with this book which goes much further than many I possess and will, I have little doubt, repay more careful study rather I usually afford such books.
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on 13 May 2011
A really good book from the point of view that it not only gives the history of the styles but through pictures and references shows how they were formed. Masses of information on the technique of the lettering and also of numerals, plus page layout. All you need to be able to decipher the calligraphy of manuscripts or to 'start writing in the style of.....'
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on 16 February 2014
i was execting more example, but this book is quite wordy.
Having said that, although it is quite dry, it is almost informative and i understand why more scholarly reader would find this a real treasure.
I was almost going to return it, but repented and decided to keep it for reference.
It is less an "art" book, more of a "study" book.
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on 3 August 1998
This is the text to introduce someone to the art of Calligraphy - if they want to do it, rather than just look at it.
Drogin provides an excellent selection of examples along with a stroke-by-stroke demonstration of every single letter.
The text is interesting and well organized to provide the same student with an appreciation for paleography. An absolute must for anyone engaged in calligraphy.
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on 11 December 2015
Lovely book with some beautiful calligraphy and commentary on the history of the art. Easy to follow guides so you can try the various styles from the different historical periods. Would make a good gift for 13/14 years up to any age.
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