Year-long lecture series on “The Age of the Writing Master and the Origins of English Roundhand”

Phan Posts: 4

The Society of Scribes presents a year-long lecture series on “The Age of the Writing Master and the Origins of English Roundhand.”

Don’t know your Van de Velde from your Materot? Your Snell from your Shelley? Join us for a series of 12 monthly lectures with historian and calligrapher Sybille van Zuylen—creator of the Penna Volans website, an amazing resource for the study of writing masters and copybooks—as she takes us on a journey that spans several centuries and delves into the lives and letters from the Age of the Writing Master.

From Italian Hand to what we know today as Copperplate, Sybille will enlighten us about an era often overlooked in calligraphy history books, but which gave rise to the pointed-pen styles we know today.

Spanning several centuries and regions, get to know influential figures such as Barbedor, Perling, Seddon, Ayres, Tomkins, Jenkins, Bickham, Dunton, Spencer, and more. If you’ve ever wondered about the calligraphers behind the Universal Penman and the writing masters who influenced them, this is your opportunity to become educated and inspired!

Access to live online lectures and recordings are free to Society of Scribes members. To join, go to

The first live session starts on January 30, 2022, at 2 PM Eastern. The recording will be posted soon after.

For more information, visit


  • Phan
    Phan Posts: 4
    Tentative program for the 12 monthly lectures (subject to change):
    1. The Renaissance: development and diffusion of the Cancellarescas.
    2. The golden age of Dutch calligraphy (1600–1630)
    3. Development and diffusion of the French “Italienne Batarde”
    4. The teaching of handwriting in the British Empire, calligraphy before the 18th century.
    5. Adoption of the Italian and French hands in England for business and trade (1680–1700)
    6. Setting the standards for a truly “English” round hand
    7. Engraving the English Round Hand: writing master versus engraver.
    8. The golden age of the English Round Hand and English copybooks
    9. Deep dive into the different styles of English Round Hand and how they changed with time
    10. Beauty versus efficiency: what is handwriting all about?
    11. Writing in the colonies: the English Round Hand goes to America
    12. The 19th century and the rise of systems of penmanship

  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,043
    edited January 2022
    Note extraneous word space at the end of the URL link above. This one works:
  • Phan
    Phan Posts: 4
    edited January 2022
    Thanks for the correction, John! That space keeps creeping in!