A Research Centre for Calligraphy

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Select Bibliography

(List compiled by Ewan Clayton)



public lettering

Bartram, A. Lettering in Architecture, Lund Humphries, London 1975. Illustrations arranged chronologically, surveys architectural lettering in Britain and Italy. Strong historical weighting. Argues for distinctive English tradition.

Bartram, A. Tombstone Lettering in the British Isles, Lund Humphries, London 1978. Main emphasis is on the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, 112 illustration in b&w.

Bartram, A. Fascia Lettering in the British Isles, Lund Humphries, London 1978. 163 illustrations, many from Ireland with a nineteenth century feel to them, an unexpectedly fascinating book.

Bartram, A. Street Name Lettering in the British Isles, Lund Humphries, London 1978.

Burman, Peter & Stapleton, Very Rev. Henry, eds. The Churchyards Handbook, Council for the Care of Churches 1988. Guidance on the management and care of churchyards, preservation of old monuments and the design of new ones, very practical guidelines.

Catich, Edward M. The Origin of the Serif: Brush Writing and Roman Letters, Catfish, Davenport 1968 and St. Ambrose, Davenport 1992. An authoritative exposition on the role of the square-edged brush in the making of Roman capital letterforms.

Fleuss, Gerald. Tom Perkins Lettercarver, Calligraphic Enterprises, Ditchling 1998. Forty b&w illustrations, with introductory essay by Gerald Fleuss.

Frazer, Harriet & Oestreicher, Christine. The Art of Remembering, Carcarnet, Manchester 1998. Catalogue of the first exhibition of its kind arranged by ‘Memorials by Artists’, fifty-four contemporary memorials. Essays by Lucinda Lambton, Alan Powers and others. The most thought provoking contribution comes from David Robinson who writes about the social history of mourning.

Gordon, A.E. An Illustrated Introduction to Latin Epigraphy, University of California, Berkeley 1983. 100 Latin inscriptions from the sixth century BC to AD 525, illustrated, annotated, transcribed and translated. Many illustrations highlight the vast quantity of lettering in Roman inscriptions, includes some inscriptions in bronze.

Gray, Milner & Armstrong, Ronald. Lettering for Architects and Designers, Batsford, London 1962. A pioneering book showing the application of lettering in architecture and transport with an evaluation of its place in commercial and industrial undertakings. Now appears very dated but includes many interesting case studies.

Gray, Nicolete. Lettering on Buildings, The Architectural Press, London 1960. Many ideas seen in Gray's later works appear here for the first time in their current exposition. Well argued and illustrated case for a more considered view of lettering in relation to architecture.

Hambidge, J. The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry, Dover, New York 1967.

Indigenous Stone Quarries, a specifier's guide. Published by Roy Hill, 3 Perriedale Avenue, Hove, Sussex BN3 4JF Tel: 01273 730 376

Howes, Justin Johnston's Underground Type Capital Transport Publishing, London 2000

The first book to document Johnston's work for London Transport in detail. His other sans serif type designs for London Transport are discussed, and include the condensed Omnibus alphabets and a bold version of Johnston Sans. Also reproduced, for the first time, are little-known designs for silver medallions presented to the Underground's best kept stations, and a selection of his bullseye designs for London Transport.

Jakob, S. & Leicher, D.M. Schrift und Symbol, Callaway, Munich 1995. Well illustrated book on lettering in stone, metal and wood, useful section on symbols. Comes from a tradition local to the Freiburg area via Alfred Riedel, a pupil of Koch. Very strong work.

Kindersley, Richard & Jennings, Martin. Architectural Lettering: a Reassessment, Royal Institute of British Architects, London 1981. Pamphlet accompanying an exhibition at the RIBA. Argues for co-operation between architects and letterers and for the teaching of lettering to be separated out from graphic design. Deplores the application of ubiquitous typographic stereotypes to architecture.

Kinneir, Jock. Words and buildings, the art and practice of public lettering, Architectural Press, London 1980. Illustrations from Greek to modern times with the emphasis firmly on the modern. Aims to be sensitive to the interests of the architect and planner as well as the typographer – written with a graphic designer’s point of view in mind.

Kindersley, D. & Lopes Cardozo, L. Letters Slate Cut, Kindersley & Lopes Cardozo, Cambridge 1990.

Mosley, James. The Nymph and the Grot: the revival of the sans serif letter, Typographica 12, 1965, pp.2-19.

Mosley, James. ‘Trajan Revived’, Alphabet, Volume 1 1964. Mosley demonstrates the variety of past interpretations of classical capital letterforms, counterbalancing the tendency to stress the Trajan inscription as the archetype of classical forms.

O’Donnell, Terry. Lettering in the Twentieth Century, a report on the practice, development and teaching of lettering in Britain this century, Crafts Study Centre, Bath 1982. A limited edition of only fifty copies of this invaluable but neglected survey were issued. Suffers from very poorly reproduced photos. Interesting for its many cogent statements on lettering education. Makes case for formal pen based studies having a fundamental role in lettering education.

Petrucci, Armando. Public Lettering, Script, Power, and Culture, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1993. Petrucci reconstructs a history of public lettering from the eleventh century to the present day. Particularly interesting discussions of lettering in the context of pre-war Fascism and the radicalism of the sixties.

Stewart, Bill. Signwork, a Craftsman's Manual, Granada, London 1984. A practical book looking at lettering, drawing, coatings, scaffolding, types of signs, fixings, signwriting, gilding and bronzing, glass decoration, screen printing, masking, cutting and costing.

Susini, Giancarlo. The Roman Stonecutter, an introduction to Latin Epigraphy, Blackwell, Oxford 1973. A slim book with a unique perspective. Stresses the importance of inscribed monuments considered as a whole and in relation to the world for which they were made. Many fascinating details emerge about the organization of the Roman stonemason’s trade.

Woodhead, A.G. The Study of Greek Inscriptions, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1959, 1981. Introduction to Greek epigraphy, not well illustrated from the letterer’s point of view, plates too few and grainy.



Argetsinger, Mark. Thinking in Script. A letter of thanks from Edward Johnston to Paul Standard, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester 1997. Beautifully produced letterpress book from the Stinehour Press with duotone plates of Johnston’s original letter. The letter was written in gratitude for the subscription raised to help ease Johnston’s financial worries, when illness made it impossible for him to work towards the end of his life. The letter contains a summary of his teaching and a sample of his formal penmanship.

Baudin, Fernand & Dreyfus, John. Dossier A to Z, Association Typographique Internationale 1973. Collection of essays on lettering education by many leading type designers and lettering artists.

Benson, John & Carey, Graham. The Elements of Lettering, John Stevens, Rhode Island 1940, McGraw Hill, New York 1950. Exceptionally clear instruction book with a unique synthesis of viewpoints. Carey’s other writings make it apparent that the book’s structure is the result of applying Aristotelian categories of thought to the task of describing how to make letters.

Camp, Ann. Pen Lettering, Dryad 1958, A&C Black, London 1993. A concise, well thought through introduction to the practice of calligraphy. The most popular and recommended book for beginners.

Child, H., Collins, H., Hechle, A., Jackson D. More than Fine Writing, British Library: London, 1998 (first printed 1986, Pelham). An inspiring survey of the life and work of Irene Wellington; over one hundred illustrations, mostly in colour.Cook, B.F. Greek Inscriptions, British Museum, London 1987. Popular guide to inscriptions on a variety of objects in the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Gunderson, William and Lehman, Charles. The Calligraphy of Lloyd Reynolds, The Alcuin Society Press, Portland 1988. A second edition was produced by the Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland 1989. Well illustrated survey, 59 illustrations.

Johnston, Edward. Writing and Illuminating, and Lettering, Hogg, London 1906, later editions Pitman now A&C Black. Pioneering handbook on calligraphy and handlettering. Its wide ranging treatment defined the field of studies for much of the twentieth century. Some techniques have been superseded by later developments. This book’s real value lies in its approach to the subject, explaining letter-design in terms of making rather than abstract theory.

Johnston, Edward. ed Child, Heather. Formal Penmanship and other papers, Lund Humphries, London 1971. This posthumously published work contains Johnston’s considered thinking on formal penmanship. It is the definitive statement of his lifetime’s work and carries the insights of his first book, Writing and Illuminating, and Lettering, to a new pitch of clarity, detail and depth.

Johnston, E. (ed. Child, H, & Howes, J.) Lessons in Formal Writing, Lund Humphries: London, 1986. A collection of papers spanning Johnston’s life. See p.222 for references to E. J.’s talk to the L.C.C. on handwriting.

Blackwell, L. Twentieth Century Type, Lawrence King, London 1992.

Johnston, Priscilla. Edward Johnston, Faber, London 1959, Barrie & Jenkins, London 1976. Remarkable portrait of her father by one of Johnston’s daughters. Very readable, a must for anyone who wants an insight into the man and his times.

Gardner, William. Alphabet at Work, A&C Black, St. Martins, London and New York 1982.

Gullick, M. & Rees, I. Modern Scribes and Lettering Artists. Studio Vista: London, 1980. This book illustrates several pieces of earlier work by exhibitors, Fleuss, Hechle, Howells, Jackson, Knight, Larcher, Mekelburg, Skelton, Veljovic and Zapf.Harvey, Michael. Creative Lettering, Drawing and Design. Bodley Head, London 1985. Good introduction to drawing, as opposed to writing, letterforms.

Harvey, Michael. Lettering Design, Bodley Head, London 1975

Knight, Stan. Historical Scripts: a handbook for calligraphers, A&C Black, London 1984, second edition Oak Knoll Press, Delaware 1998. Set new standards for the reproduction of letters in historical manuscripts and inscriptions. Thirty-one sample manuscripts selected with a letter-maker’s eye, annotated and illustrated in three ways: with the script enlarged, actual size, and in a full page view. Accurate and concise historical introduction. Eight inscriptions also illustrated. Second edition enlarged and with even better photographs.

Neugebauer, Friederich. The Mystic Art of Written Forms, Neugebauer Press 1980. Illustrated handbook by an Austrian letterer trained in the tradition of Rudolf von Larisch in Vienna, wide variety of work illustrated.

Perkins, Tom. ‘Calligraphy as a basis for Letter Design’ in Child, H. ed. The Calligrapher’s Handbook, A&C Black, London 1985.

Reynolds, Lloyd. My Dear Runemeister. Pentalic, New York 1982. Presented in the format of short one page letters in his own superb italic hand, this book has each epistle take one letter of the alphabet as its theme and makes brief comments on its origin.

Reynolds, Lloyd. Straight Impressions, TBW Books, Woolwich Maine 1979. Collected essays from Lloyd Reynolds

Shahn, Ben. Love and Joy about Letters, Cory Adams and Mackay, London 1964.


Bickham, G. The Universal Penman, Dover: London 1954.An inexpensive facsimile of an eighteenth century writing manual.

Crellin, V.H. Writing by Rote, University of Reading. 1982. Twenty-page exhibition catalogue with introduction on the rise and fall of copperplate handwriting seen through school copy books and exercises from the nineteenth century.

DaBoll I, & R. Recollections of the Lyceum & Chautauqua Circuits, Bond Wheelwright: Freeport, Maine, 1969. An unusual book of notes and recollections on the theme of self-education in the United States. Entirely handwritten with many ingenious page layouts incorporating photographs, drawings, maps etc. and a section on the introduction of italic to the US. Lots of ideas for journal keepers – a beautiful book.

Dreyfus, John. ‘Emery Walker’s 1888 lecture on “Letterpress Printing”’: A Reconstruction and a Reconsideration, Craft History One, Combined Arts. Gives background on the relation of calligraphy to print as presented by the Arts and Crafts movement.

Fairbank, A. A Book of Scripts, Faber: London,1977 (first edition 1949) Called by the publisher ‘a pocket paleography’. Surveys the development of roman letterforms in western Europe.

Fairbank, A. A Handwriting Manual, Faber: London, (1st edition Dryad, 1932). Classic book on handwriting for young adults onwards. Forms based on later Renaissance models. Out of print but can sometimes be found in secondhand bookshops.

Febvre, L. & Martin, H-J. The Coming of the Book, the impact of printing 1450-1800 NLB 1976. First published in French in 1958, looks at the technical preconditions and social pressures that shaped the transition from manuscript to the printed page. Very good on the book trade throughout this period.

Filby,PW. ed. Calligraphy & Handwriting in America 1710-1962, Italimuse: New York, 1963. Well illustrated catalogue of an exhibition at the Peabody Institute Library, Baltimore. Good reproductions of eighteenth and nineteenth century writing manuals.

Gourdie, T. Handwriting for Today, Pitman: London, 1971. Attractively presented (handwritten throughout) guide to a ‘Simple Modern Hand’, a well-thought through cursive italic, promoted in copy book form. This author has been influential in introducing handwriting schemes in a number of countries, and has published text books for schools promoting the simple modern hand, e.g., Collins (1965), Macdonald (1981,82).

Love, H. Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-Century England, Clarendon: Oxford 1993. Love argues that print culture developed much more slowly than we once thought and scribal publication continued well into the eighteenth century.

Martin, H-J. The History and Power of Writing, University of Chicago: Chicago, 1994. Cultural history on a grand scale (591pp). Surveys the origins and development of writing in Europe. Readable, despite its length.

Manguel, A. A History of Reading, Flamingo: London, 1997. A rich and entertaining, personal response to the history of reading.

Ogg, O. Three Classics of Italian Calligraphy. Dover: London 1953. Unabridged facsimiles of writing manuals from the Italian Renaissance by Arrighi, Tagliente and Palatino.

Osley, A.S. Scribes and Sources, Faber : London, 1980. Texts from an unusually wide range of writing masters including Cresci and Jean de Beauchesne, all translated, but with only occasional and rather small illustrations.

Reynolds, L.D. & Wilson, N.G. Scribes and Scholars, OUP: Oxford, 3rd. ed. 1990. A good reference book particularly for the early history of literacy and literature in Europe.

Reynolds, L.J. Straight Impressions, TBW Books: Woolwich, Maine. 1979. A rounded book of essays on aspects of handwriting by a distinguished American teacher much influenced by his love of literature and oriental philosophy.

Sassoon, R. Handwriting, a new perspective. Stanley Thornes 1990. The author brings the practicalities of a calligraphic background to the often thorny ground of handwriting issues in the classroom, looks at posture, tools, joining and speed. Urges a systematic approach to teaching rather than any specific model. Useful section on handwriting problems. Unusual sympathy for child’s point of view.

Thornton, T.P. Handwriting in America, Yale: New Haven, 1996. The first book to be written about handwriting as cultural history. A revelation; read this book before all others.

Wardrop, J. The Script of Humanism, Clarendon: Oxford, 1963. A paleographical classic on the subject, particularly interesting section on the Paduan scribe Bartolomeo San Vito.

Wellington, Irene. The Irene Wellington Copy Book, Omnibus Edition, Pitman: London, 1977. Three earlier copy books in one, with a few additions. It combines a delightful choice of words and texts, with intelligent exercises, and simple letterforms. The author deliberately chose a wider arched form as a basis for developing a cursive hand than is available in other books. Out of print.

Whalley, J.I. The Student’s Guide to Western Calligraphy, Shambala: Boulder 1984. Only recent book to illustrate and survey English seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century copy books.

Yates, Joanne. Control through Communication. John Hopkins: Baltimore, 1989. Looks at the growth of systematic management in American companies from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. Contains a wealth of detail on the development of office technology and documentary practice.


Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style, Hartley & Marks, Vancouver 1992. A lucid and authoritative guide to typographic concepts, resources and traditions. Bringhurst is also a poet.

Brook, Peter. Threads of Time, Methuen, London 1999. Referred to by John Dreyfus in his article in this volume for ideas on rhythm, ‘the common factor of all the arts’.

Caflisch, Max. Typography needs type, ATypI 1977. Pamphlet in English, French and German asking what typography is; excellent survey from cuneiform to present day. The typography of this pamphlet is masterly, successfully balancing three contrasting columns of text using sans, italic and modern roman faces.

Carter, Sebastian. Twentieth Century Type Designers, Trefoil 1987. Examines the careers of a number of type designers working in this century including Goudy, Rogers, Koch, Dwiggins, Gill, Hammer, Morison, Mardersteig, van Krimpen, Trump, Blumenthal, Middleton, Tschichold, Wolpe, Excoffon, Zapf and Frutiger against the background of technological change.

Cobden Sanderson, T. J. ‘The Book Beautiful’, Ecce Mundus: Industrial Ideals and the Book Beautiful. London 1902. An eloquent argument for seeing calligraphy, type design and typography as interconnected disciplines.

Dreyfus, John. ‘Emery Walker’s 1888 lecture on “Letterpress Printing”: A Reconstruction and a Reconsideration’, Craft History One, Combined Arts 1988. This lecture was one of the key events in deciding the direction calligraphy and typography would take in Britain in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century.

Dreyfus, John. Morris and the printed book. A reconsideration of his views on type and book design in the light of later computer-aided techniques. William Morris Society, London 1989.

Gill, Eric. On Typography, Sheed & Ward, 2nd Edition, London 1936. Makes strong case for unjustified text. Suggests it is easier on the reading eye to preserve even spaces between letters and suffer the consequences: a slightly uneven right hand edge to the text block.

Harling, Robert. The Letter Forms and Type Designs of Eric Gill, Svennson, Westerham 1976, rev. 1978, 1979. Concise portrait of Gill and his lettering. Strong on type, weaker on inscriptional lettering.

Hochuli, J. and Kinross, R. Designing Books: Practice and Theory, Hyphen Press, London 1996.

Kinross, R. Modern Typography, Hyphen Press, London 1992. Kinross is one of the clearest writers on typographical subjects and any reference to him is invariably worth following up.

Lawson, A. Anatomy of a Typeface, Hamish Hamilton, David Godine, London and Boston 1990.

McLean, Ruari. Jan Tschichold: typographer, Godine, New York 1975. An account of the professional life of this great typographer with extracts from his own writing and correspondence. Bibliography and usefully organized index.

Monotype Recorder, ‘Eric Gill’ issue, Autumn 1958. Issued to commemorate an exhibition of Gill’s lettering and type design. See also Monotype Recorder, new series, Autumn 1990, ‘Eric Gill: The Continuing Tradition’.

Neuenschwander, Brody. Letterwork, Creative Letterforms in Graphic Design, Phaidon, London 1993. An unusually broad cross-section of work from the early nineties bridging the gap between calligraphic and typographic design. A well structured text with the choicest insights coming in the full captions to the many colour illustrations.

Owens, L.T. JH Mason, Scholar Printer, Muller, London 1976. Surveys the working life and interests of this important figure in the pre-war printing trade, many quotes from his writings.

Smeijers, Fred. Counterpunch: making type in the sixteenth century, designing typefaces now. Hyphen Press, London 1996. Edited by Robin Kinross, fascinating text, excellent illustrations.

Spencer, Herbert. Pioneers of Modern Typography, Lund Humphries, London 1969, 1982. Lissitzky, van Doesburg, Schwitters, Werkman, Zwart, Schuitema, Rodchenko, Moholy-Nagy, Beyer, Tschichold, and a fifty-page account of the New Typography.

Stauffacher, Jack W. A search for the Typographic Form of Plato’s Phaedrus. Greenwood Press, San Francisco 1978. Private press book which gives a superb insight into the printer’s search for typographic and intellectual clarity in the production of an edition of the Phaedrus. A thought- provoking book for anyone thinking through the presentation of a text. 36 pages, over 30 illustrations.

Sutton, J. and Bartram, A. An Atlas of Typeforms, Lund Humphries, London 1968. Of interest to the calligrapher for its enlarged photographs of type in a developmental sequence, clearly showing the early dependence of type upon broad-edged pen based forms and the subsequent influence of drawing on the development of type design.

Tracy, Walter. Letters of Credit: A View of Type Design, Gordon Fraser. London 1986

Tschichold, Jan. The Form of the Book, Lund Humphries, London 1991. A series of essays on considerations in book design.

Tschichold, Jan. The New Typography, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles 1995. Although in the later half of his life Tschichold reverted to a classical approach to typography and new technology


typography and new technology

Bigelow, Charles, Ruggles, Lynn (eds.). The Computer and the Hand in Type Design, Special Issue, Visible Language XIX Winter 1985. pp. 106–119. A special issue recording the proceedings of the ATypI conference at Stanford USA in 1983, with hindsight a significant moment in the process of embracing new digital technology. All the contributions are distinguished by a rich sense of the human and historical continuity that runs through the lettering arts.

Karow, Peter. Digital Formats for Typefaces, URW, Hamburg 1988.

Kindersley, David. Optical letter spacing for new printing systems, Wynkyn de Worde Society. 1966, 1976. A pamphlet investigating mechanical and optical letter spacing.

Knuth, Donald E. TEX and METAFONT, New directions in typesetting, Digital & American Mathematical Society, Bedford 1979. Pioneering book on digital typography now overtaken by later developments and of largely historical interest. Rare coverage given to the problems of mathematical typography.

Levy, David, ‘Computers and Calligraphy’, The Scribe, Summer 1994. An autobiographical account of someone standing between two worlds, those of the book arts and computer science. The author recounts the experience of these worlds reconnecting in the development of new electronic media in the mid-eighties.

Levy, David, ‘Slouching toward Cyberspace, the Place of the Lettering Arts in a Digital Era’, Codes and Messages, ed. Ewan Clayton. Crafts Council, London 1995.

Sassoon, R. (ed) Computers and Type, Intellect, Oxford 1993. Eleven essays on issues in a fast moving field. Specialized reading lists in the Southall and Baudin articles.

Stone, Sumner. Typography on the Personal Computer, Lund Humphries, London 1991. In the USA this book is called On Stone: Typography on the Personal Computer, Bedford Arts, San Francisco 1991.

Chartier, Roger. The Order of Books, Stanford 1994. Examines the methods used between the end of the middle ages and the eighteenth century to impose order on the increasing number of texts in circulation via classification systems, titling, systems of reference between works, ideas of the library etc. all leading to a changed relationship between readers and text.

Zapf, Hermann and Dreyfus, John. Classical Typography in the Computer Age, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Los Angeles 1991.