Monday, May 8

Period Handwriting

 
There has been quite a bit of interest in the Mail Packet project that we're doing for the guys in the the Acasta group. I've gotten a lot of questions about writing letters of the period, so this week we'll be taking you step-by-step through the process of writing a letter that looks like it came from the era. Each day will deal with a different aspect of the process, we'll cover:

Period Handwriting
Period Content
Letter Folding
Addressing
Wax Seals


First up we tackle...

Period Handwriting
The first problem that people tend to encounter when undertaking a hand written letter project is "I don't have nice handwriting". Well, neither did a lot of people in the period... so don't be too hard on yourself. People wrote letters to communicate with friends and loved ones over a great distance, and so long as it was legible, that was what mattered.

There is a great period reference to make use of when trying to learn how to create lettering from the period. I highly recommend George Bickham's little book about penmanship! I have owned several copies of this very book and it is delightful. Not only does it show you how to create each individual letter in various styles, it also has pages for the reader to copy for practice!

You can find a modern edition for sale on Amazon HERE:

Or, if you'd like a period correct copy along with some beginning writing supplies as seen in the image above, click HERE:

If you decide to purchase the period letter writing pack, be sure to tell them the Doctor referred you!

And to see some lovely samples of letters from the period that revolve around Royal Naval officer Francis Godolphin Bond circa 1765-1839, click HERE.

In the meantime, get out your pen and paper and practice, have some fun with it! Tomorrow we'll talk about WHAT to write.

4 comments:

  1. I think my main issue (apart from the handwriting!) is that modern paper A. looks wrong and B. isn't actually the best paper to use when writing with a dip pen and ink. I shall have to try to locate some proper laid paper - and practise my period handwriting.

    And as a researcher who has spent some time at the NationaL Archives at Kew reading through period documents, I can readily testify to the fact that even 200+ years ago, not everybody had a legible hand!

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    1. Oh yes, I suppose I should have mentioned that you can purchase faux laid linen paper as well as the real thing at most of your local hobby and art supply shops.

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  2. Will you cover post office stamps i.e. the circular (FEB | 13) stamps and other post office marks? How do you duplicate those?

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    1. Good question! No, I wasn't planning on covering that, but the marks you see on MY mail are duplicated from actual postmarks of the period. There's a company that will custom make you rubber stamps from artwork that you supply them.

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