THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


31 John De Beauchesne 1538?-after 1610
and John Baildon fl. 1570
A Booke Containing Divers Sortes of Hands
London, Thomas Vautrouiller, 1570
Calligraphy declined rapidly in England after the arrival of printing in the fifteenth century. However, the revival of learning and the ensuing introduction of copybooks brought about a renaissance in English calligraphy, and this work is the first to be printed in England. De Beauchesne, a French Huguenot immigrant, was a writing master who became tutor to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, only daughter of King James I. Baildon's role in the work is uncertain; he may have cut the woodblocks, or edited the work. Containing thirty-seven leaves (lacking nine leaves, dedication and letter press), the work includes admirable examples of gothic and secretary hands, as well as chancery, italic, secretary written with the left hand (a reversed hand read through a mirror) and other hands. One other incomplete copy of this edition and a fragment are known to exist.
Gift of George A. Plimpton

Collections and Treasures