Considered by many the most beautiful book ever created, Ireland's Book of Kells is renowned for its glorious handwritten script, developed by monks and scribes in the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. One of the most distinctive features of the script is the triangular serif at the top of the letters. For many years, the derivation of the triangular form was a mystery to calligraphers.
Now, in this remarkable new manual, noted calligrapher Arthur Baker reveals how the ancient scribes produced the distinctive triangular serif, an effect that can be traced back to the magnificent capitals of first-century Rome. This easy-to-follow book shows you how to achieve the same results; it is a complete stroke-by-stroke guide to creating each letter of the alphabet in the age-old Celtic manner. Crystal clear instructions also cover pens, inks, work surface, paper and lines, how to hold the pen, and more. An introduction by calligrapher William Hogarth outlines the background of the Kells script and Arthur Baker's contributions to clarifying its origins.
Calligraphy, or the art of beautiful writing, is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity among those who delight in the elegance and artistry of a fine hand. This new stroke-by-stroke manual, by a leading practitioner of the art, details the hand positions, techniques, and tools required to produce the half-uncial style, among the most beautiful and unique writing styles ever invented.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent book, especially for the price. In short, there is a well-written two page introduction, two short pages of instruction, then examples of the text followed by the bulk of the book: the entire alphabet (with some variations) sketched out stroke-by-stroke in the same manner as the drawing on the cover. The big innovations here are the positions of the nib shown in the different strokes with their changes as the letter progresses, which mark clearly how half-uncial should be created. From the introduction, you learn that Arthur Baker's innovation for modern calligraphers in relation to the half-uncial was to show that the flourishes and serifs at the top and ends of the letters were formed with a single pivoting stroke, not added later with additional strokes. Baker's method is what is shown here, in the stroke-by-stroke diagrams of the alphabet. Hogarth's introduction also places the half-uncial script, as exemplified by the Book of Kells, the Books of Durrow and Armagh, the Gospel of Lindisfarne, etc., within the larger history of Western calligraphy and writing, as well as showing the Roman and other influences within half-uncial. Baker's two pages of text are sparse, mostly covering equipment, yet with a small detailed description of his pivoting-turn method of writing the half-uncial letters. Well worth it especially considering the price, for a beginner this book would need to be accompanied by more detailed descriptions of calligraphy tools and equipment found in other manuals. However, for learning the half-uncial, even a beginner with little knowledge of calligraphy (like myself) will find this book extremely helpful, and I would assume it would be an excellent resource for more advanced calligraphers.