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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the ‘calligraphy’ tag


Holzmüller and the Quays


US one sheet (1996). Heinrich Holzmüller (also spelt Holtzmüller) was a German printmaker and calligrapher active during the 16th century. He may have been dead for centuries but this inconvenience didn’t prevent him from appearing as an interviewer in the catalogue for the MoMA exhibition of artworks by the Brothers Quay that ran throughout the […]

Posted in {animation}, {books}, {design}, {film}, {typography} | 1 comment »


Weekend links 233


Alchemical Stone (2014) by Daniel Lasso Casas. Via full fathom five. • “I am unsure if this reality is an everyday one. We don’t know if the universe belongs to a realist genre or a fantastic one, because if, as idealists believe, everything is a dream, then what we call reality is essentially oneiric.” Jorge […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {borges}, {cities}, {design}, {electronica}, {fashion}, {gay}, {music}, {television}, {typography} | 2 comments »


Jarek Piotrowski’s Soft Machine


Jarek Piotrowski is a Polish-born Canadian artist whose exhibition of hand-cut PVC mats at Galerie8, London, borrows a title and inspiration from William Burroughs’ The Soft Machine. From the usual slab of gallery-speak: Drawing on the subversive William S. Burroughs novel The Soft Machine (1961), Piotrowski’s work explores themes of the human body under siege, […]

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Early woodcut initials


More decorated initials, these being from Early Woodcut Initials (1908), a collection by Oscar Jennings of ornamental letters from books of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. By way of contrast with yesterday’s examples, not all of these feature the religious or mythological figures one would expect, some show early mathematical and astronomical devices.

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Paulini’s mythological alphabet


Whoever I. Paulini was, no one seems to know his (or, indeed, her) first name. Even the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, which owns a copy of these plates, doesn’t elaborate. The copies here are scans from a Getty edition of Alphabeto, part of the collection of Getty Institute volumes at the Internet Archive. The […]

Posted in {books}, {fantasy}, {typography} | 3 comments »


Joseph Balthazar Silvestre’s Alphabet-album


Monsieur Silvestre’s Alphabet-album, a collection of decorative alphabets, has a lengthy subtitle—Collection de Soixante Feuilles d’Alphabets Historiés et Fleuronnés, tirés des Principales Bibliothèques de l’Europe—and is a good example of how the 19th century, always characterised as a period of over-elaborate decoration, contains the seeds of 20th-century design. Silvestre’s book dates from 1843 yet contains […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {typography} | 1 comment »


Shinichi Maruyama’s water sculptures


From the Kusho series. Having attempted a few times to photograph the motion of water in air I’m in awe of Shinichi Maruyama’s high-speed captures which make of the process a very refined and beautiful art. Japanese calligraphy and sumi-e painting are obvious precedents but the artist also refers us to Zen gardens in his […]

Posted in {art}, {photography} | 1 comment »


Johann Theodor de Bry’s Neiw Kunstliches Alphabet


A page from Johann Theodor de Bry’s Neiw Kunstliches Alphabet (1595) which can be found in a free PDF version here, the scans being taken from a Victorian reprint. The late, lamented Giornale Nuovo featured some of these curious letter designs in 2005. Each capital is embellished with various symbolic figures—Moses appears perched on the […]

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The Book of Ornamental Alphabets


Another short but sweet Internet Archive upload, The Book of Ornamental Alphabets (1914) by Freeman Delamotte. The designs are a variety of capitals and alphabets from medieval and later manuscripts. At least one page of this I recognise from a Pepin Press collection of similar ornamental types. Previously on { feuilleton } • Paul Franck’s […]

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Paul Franck’s calligraphy


Some of the most extravagantly flourished capitals you’ll see, from another of those books with an unwieldy title, Kunstrichtige Schreibart : allerhand Versalie[n] oder AnfangsBuchstabe[n] der teütschen, lateinischen und italianischen Schrifften aus unterschiedlichen Meistern der edlen Schreibkunst zusammen getragen (1655). The authors are credited as Paul Franck, Paul Fürst and Christoph Gerhard but it’s Franck’s […]

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Weekend links 11


Panneaux decoratifs (1900) by Manuel Orazi at NYPL. • Ghostsigns: “a collaborative national effort to photograph, research and archive the remaining examples of hand painted wall advertising in the UK and Ireland.” • Golden Age Comic Book Stories posts some Alphonse Mucha. • Voyage Fantastique – An illustrated guide to the body and mind at […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {architecture}, {art nouveau}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {photography}, {religion}, {science}, {sculpture} | 7 comments »


The Red Book by Carl Jung


This month is a major one in book publishing as Carl Jung’s magnum opus The Red Book, or Liber Novus, which has remained unpublished for 80 years, is issued in a facsimile edition. Selections of pages have been turning up in reviews and online previews which easily whet the appetite. In his late 30s, Jung […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {occult} | 7 comments »




Or Gramato-graphices. In quo varia scripturae emblemata, belgicis, germanicis, italicis, hispanicis, gallicis characteribus exaata… scripta, aeri incisa, et impressa per Cornelium Boissenium Enchusanum to give the full title. A treatise on penmanship and calligraphy from 1605 by Cornelis Dirckszoon Boissens. Also another free scan at the Internet Archive. Searching for better reproductions turned up this […]

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John Bickham’s Fables and other short poems


Or Fables and other short poems : collected from the most celebrated English authors : the whole curiously engrav’d for the practice & amusement of young gentlemen & ladies in the art of writing to give its full title, a children’s primer from 1731 and another free title available at the Internet Archive. John Bickham […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {illustrators}, {typography} | 6 comments »


Studies in Pen Art


Two of many stunning calligraphy samples from Studies in Pen Art (1914) by William E Dennis, a free PDF at Luc Devroye’s extensive font site. Update: That site and link have expired but the PDF can be found here. Previously on { feuilleton } • Flourishes

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {typography} | 2 comments »


Tugra of Suleiman the Magnificent


The Tugra, or imperial monogram, of Suleiman the Magnificent, c. 1550–65. From the calligraphy section of the Islamic art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Previously on { feuilleton } • Ottoman calligraphy and Arabic typography • Flourishes • Ghubar • Calligraphy by Mouneer Al-Shaárani • The Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy • […]

Posted in {design}, {typography} | 4 comments »


Ottoman calligraphy and Arabic typography


Above: Ottoman calligraphy from a selection at the Library of Congress. Below: contemporary Arabic typography from the Experimental Typography Flickr pool. Previously on { feuilleton } • Ghubar • Calligraphy by Mouneer Al-Shaárani • The Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy • Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East

Posted in {design}, {typography} | 7 comments »




There’s calligraphy and then there’s fraktur extravaganzas such as this…. Previously on { feuilleton } • Post one thousand • Ghubar • Calligraphy by Mouneer Al-Shaárani • The Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy • Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East

Posted in {typography} | 11 comments »




Ghubar calligraphy by Hassan Massoudy. Ghubar (or “dust” in Arabic) is the name of a special kind of calligraphic script. As its name implies, ghubar can be as delicate as particles of dust on a piece of paper. Words written in this script can be as fine as a single hair. Originally designed for messages […]

Posted in {art}, {typography} | 3 comments »


Masterpieces of Persian painting


Shamseh, Unknown artist, Indian Moraqqa?. First half of 17th century, Golestan Palace. Sixteen pages of paintings at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Previously on { feuilleton } • Prince Iskandar’s horoscope • Calligraphy by Mouneer Al-Shaárani • The Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy • Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East

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