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History Books


B4013. Twelve Letters on a Grand Scale
B4013. Twelve Letters on a Grand Scale: The Sainsbury Wing Inscriptions by Michael Harvey. 2013. 50pp. 8.25"x8.25".

This delightful book presents the process of the design and cutting of an inscription in a new wing added to the National Gallery in London. Filled with sketches and diagrams and full-color photos.




Your Price $24.95

B4055. William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration
B4055. William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration Expanded Edition by Dorothy Abbe and Bruce Kennett. 2015. 112pp. 6.75"x9". Paper.

A classic from the man who coined the term graphic design - There has never been anyone in the design world like William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956). The first American to call himself a graphic designer, he applied his prodigious talents in the fields of typography, calligraphy, illustration, and even puppeteering - a more fitting title might have been Renaissance man. He is best known for his book designs, which combine his expertise in calligraphy, use of stencils, and typography. Very little has been published on Dwiggins, until now. The first of several planned volumes on his incredible legacy, this reprint of Stencilled Ornament & Illustration includes the original book, hand-set in an experimental Linotype face he designed, along with stencils and plates illustrating a dizzying array of graphical elements. A new introduction by Bruce Kennett shows how Dwiggins used ornaments, rules, and other elements in his final book and jacket designs. Originally published in a letterpress edition of 120 copies, this important book introduces the unique genius of Dwiggins to a broader audience. 144 illustrations, 24 in color.




Your Price $29.95

B135-H. Historical Scripts / Knight
B135-H. Historical Scripts: From Classical Times to the Renaissance by Stan Knight. 112pp. 9"x12". Hardcover.

An indispensible resource for the study of historical hands. Stan has selected the best examples for Rustic Capitals, Square Capitals, Uncials, Half-Uncials, Caroline Minuscules, Gothic Scripts, Versals, Renaissance Roman and Italics - total of 56 different inscriptions and manuscripts! Enjoy the book with its excellent visuals as it presents the history and developments of the hands. And, if so inclined, use the book to study the forms and replicate with pen and ink. For each manuscript, Stan provides an enlarged section (for letterforms), the full page (for page design), and an actual-size sample (to show you rhythm and letter & word spacing). The perfect complement to Sheila Waters' Foundations of Calligraphy.

The revised and enlarged edition (1998) of this valuable resource. Forward by Ewan Clayton. Includes a helpful glossary and extensive bibliography. Stan Knight is an internationally recognized lettering artist, teacher and author. He is a fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators.




Your Price $39.95

B255. Universal Penman / Bickham
B255 The Universal Penman by George Bickham. (1741) 1954. 212pp. 9"x13.75". Paper.

212 pages done by a number of English master penmen of the 1700s, all engraved by Bickham. Shows a variety of Copperplate hands in a variety of sizes. Much non-pictorial flourishing. This is not an instructional manual, but for the study of letterforms this is the best historical source book.




Your Price $22.95

B1277. Explicatio Formarum Litterarum/Aris
Explicatio Formarum Litterarum: The Unfolding of Letterforms by Rutherford Aris. 1990. 50pp. plus 23 foldout plates. 9.5"x12.25". Paper over boards.

This book displays as graphically as possible the development of the forms of the Latin letters from the first to the fifteenth centuries. The foldout plates contain nearly 200 black & white reproductions of various scripts. The text relates the development of letters to that of other arts, making comparisons that shed light on the spirit of an entire age; for example, between the evolution of gothic letters and the pointed arches in gothic cathedrals. Many other fascinating insights into medieval thought, culture & history are included in the book.

Download the errata sheets for Explicatio Formarum Litterarum.




Your Price $35.00

B2787. Bible of Illuminated Letters/Morgan
The Bible of Illuminated Letters: A Treasury of Decorative Calligraphy by Margaret Morgan. 2006. 256pp. 5.75" x 7.75". Hidden spiral hardcover.
Retail Price $24.99.

Step-by-step instructions for creating 12 illuminated alphabets, including Celtic, Saxon, Gothic, Romanesque and Modern Revival. Both caps and minuscules are presented along with borders and decorations. Gilding is also covered. Gallery of historical and contemporary illuminated letters. More than 400 color illustrations.
Published as Illuminated Letters: A Treasury of Decorative Calligraphy in the U.K.




Your Price $24.99

B3911. Sign Painters / Levine
B3911. Sign Painters by Faythe Levine, Sam Macon. 2012. 176pp. 7.5x 9.5 Paper

As recently as the 1980s, storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were hand-lettered with brush and paint. (This skilled trade has been largely replaced by computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers.) This book documents these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. It features stories and photographs of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States profiling sign painters young and old, from the new vanguard working solo to collaborative shops such as San Francisco's New Bohemia Signs and New York's Colossal Media's Sky High Murals. 200 color illustrations.




Your Price $24.95

B3143. Script & Scribble / Florey
B3143. Script & Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey. 2009. 225pp. 7"x8.5". Hardcover

In this fascinating exploration of the history of handwriting, Florey presents the importance of writing by hand and its place in our society. She weaves together the evolution of writing implements and scripts, pen-collecting societies, the golden age of American penmanship, and our present calligraphic community.

Steeped in the Palmer Method of Handwriting she learned in Catholic school, Kitty Burns Florey is a self-confessed "penmanship nut" who loves the act of taking pen to paper. So when she discovered that schools today forego handwriting drills in favor of teaching something called keyboarding, it gave her pause: "There is a widespread belief that, in a digital world, forming letters on paper with a pen is pointless and obsolete," she says, "and anyone who thinks otherwise is right up there with folks who still have fallout shelters in their backyards."




Your Price $22.95

B3991. Art, Word and Image: 2,000 Years of Visual/Textual Interaction
B3991 Art, Word and Image: 2,000 Years of Visual/Textual Interaction by John Dixon Hunt, David Lomas, and Michael Corris. 2010. 410pp. 11"x8". Paper

What does it mean to say that a painting has been "invaded" by language? Art, Word and Image answers this question by exploring how visual images and writing can work in dialogue in an artwork.

Art, Word and Image, one of the first books to examine the use of language in art, is constructed around three major chronological essays by renowned scholars John Dixon Hunt, David Lomas, and Michael Corris. Their essays chart the use and significance of words in art, from Classical Greece through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to modern digital media.




Your Price $39.00

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