Biting of the Bows: ampersands and other ligature I September 7

The Biting of Bows: ampersands and other ligature
To register, click here.

This class is not hosted by John Neal Books.

Workshop details
Come and explore this beautiful creature, its etymology, its history, traditional and modern and familiarize yourself with other famous ligatures. There will be a small component of research and analysis along with pen-work, drawing and painting in this serious yet fun class.

Specific skills you will learn at the workshop:
You will learn valuable research techniques and how to read a medieval manuscript and pick out ampersands & ligatures. You will draw and paint both traditional and contemporary styles of ampersands and learn how to apply ligatures to a variety of hands in your calligraphy.

You are not expected to work along with the tutor...during the demonstration is the time to watch, ask and learn. After each weekly demo you will get follow up handouts and the link to the video recording which is available for two weeks.


  • Set of square edged nibs. All sizes. brause, Speedball or William Mitchell. (N02-S9), (N09-6), (N04-S10A)
  • A large nib such as an Automatic 4 or Horizon 5/8 (N149)


  • Practice paper like bond, cartridge or layout approx. A3 (P20)
  • Off-cuts of fine art paper (will discuss in class)
  • Tracing paper A4 (P112)


  • Some non-waterproof black ink – ink stick and stone recommended (I08), (IS37), (IS29)
  • Any gouache or water colours you already have (plus mixing supplies) Click HERE collection of gouache.

Gold leaf & Gold size (will be discussed during the workshop)

You will also need:

  • an eraser (E13)
  • ruler (S281)
  • lead pencils (PL38)
  • 2 x small water jar (S1005)
  • tissues or rag (S817)
  • notebook/visual diary
  • blu-tac/white putty
  • a compass (pair of compasses)