Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst. Michael LINDEN.
Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst.
Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst.
Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst.
Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst.
Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst.
Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst.
German Calligraphy Handbook for Schoolchildren
No U.S. Copy
[Mainz], for the author, 1758.

Der Zeit üblichsten Schreib-Kunst.

Oblong 8vo. [16.5 x 21 cm], (24) ff. full-page engravings (including title). Bound in contemporary speckled boards. Covers much abraded and with edge wear, rebacked with a worn strip of reverse calf. A few small ink stains internally, generally marginal, occasional minor dustiness and edge toning. A genuine copy, generally good internally.

First and only known edition of a German Baroque calligraphy manual for young students.  Following the title page, in which the elaborately scripted title is flanked by a pair of winged cherubs, this slim volume begins with a demonstration of the accretive written symbol system common in 18th-century German and Swiss Schreibmeisterbücher. After a presentation of the alphabet in Gothic and cursive script, and the first decade of numerals in cursive, the handbook continues with 22 engravings, each given over to a single letter of the German alphabet.

Individual letters are presented in cursive, Fraktur, and Gothic script, and, as was common in handwriting books of the period, the models also provide brief dicta for the student’s writing practice. These are comprised almost entirely of pious religious sentiments and aphorisms, one in German and usually a second in Latin, though a charming exception is the entry for “Z,” which is not only written in French but also offers a candid verdict on contemporary French literature: “Zaire est une des plus belles Tragédies, que Voltaire a composé. . .” 

Each page features two highly stylized versions of its respective capital letter, usually scalloped, feathered or filled in with a distinctive wave or line pattern, surrounded by elegant serifs that loop around the capital before blossoming into scrolls or leaves.  In what is perhaps an attempt at pedagogical variation, the author has begun many of the German aphorisms with a highly ornamental gothic script, only to shift into standard cursive in the middle of the sentence.

The lightly inked doodles on the volume’s title page, and the pristine character of its contents, suggest that the child who owned this copy may not have become an expert calligrapher.

No US copy. According to OCLC just 2 copies worldwide (Bibl. Nat. Univ. Strasbourg and Gutenberg Museum, Mainz).

* Bonacini 1069; not in Becker’s The Practice of Letters.

Price: $3,500.00

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