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Italic writing based on the Chancery Cursive hand of Bernardino Cataneo



Italic handwriting for everyday use, Cataneo's chancery cursive hand and my adaptation of it, developing Italic handwriting skills, glossary of terms. Go to the Introduction page

Basics - Techniques & Methodologies

Writing position and surfaces, pen hold, guidelines and templates, using flexible nib fountain pens, references for left-handed writers, etc. Go to the Basics - Techniques & Methodologies page

Letterform Characteristics & Construction

"n" values, determining pen nib widths, constructs, slope, spacing, Majuscule flourishing, etc. Go to the Letterform Characteristics & Construction page.

Practice and actual Writing

Edward Johnston's admonition: "Useful practice is the making of real things", development & preparation. Go to the Practice and actual Writing page.

Italic writing using Fountain Pens

Employing "out of the box" fountain pens with "iridium tipped" nibs - notes relating to pen hold and nib selection. Go to the Italic writing using Fountain Pens page.

Italic writing notes with scanned exemplars

Random Notes accompanied by Scanned captioned Exemplars that depict renditions using various types of pens, inks and papers. Go to the Random Notes with scanned Exemplars page.


Updates & Additions

Date format: Year-Month-Day ( ISO 8601)

2013-12-18 - Updated this page.
2013-12-18 - Revised information on several pages.
2014-06-01 - Revised this page.

Bernardino Cataneo

Bernardino Cataneo was Writing Master (maestro di scrivere) at the University of Siena, Italy, c. 1544-1560. The only known surviving exemplars of his writing are twenty vellum leaves bound in a manuscript copybook, dated 4 February 1545, which has been published in facsimile with explanatory notes by Stephen Harvard, the eminent calligrapher and designer.

Page properties

All pages are non-commercial, have W3C validated markup & style sheets and are accessible to people with disabilities. Compatible with smart phones and small screen devices.

Page layout on this site

Much of the typewritten text content on the pages of this site is justified which, while producing a nicely balanced layout, results in occasional uneven white spacing between words.

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Supplemental Writing Hands

Humanistic Majuscule (Capitals) and minuscule (small Roman) letter forms that can - and should - be included in the repertoire of italic writing practioners. Go to my Supplemental Writing Hands page.

Book Hand writing

The humanistic minuscule letter forms originally formulated by Poggio Bracciolini and subsequently refined by contemporary scribes. Here depicted is a Book hand somewhat based on seventh century half-uncial letter forms as modernized by Edward Johnston, which is notable for its roundness and evenness. Go to my Book Hand writing page

Roman Document writing

Capitalis Monumentalis (square capital) and Capitalis Rustica (narrow and somewhat informal) lettering that was commonly used for rendering official documents from approximately the second until the fifth century AD. Go to my Roman Document writing page

Roman Imperial Coin Lettering

Capitalis Monumentalis lettering which was adapted by the coin engravers of the Roman Empire and that provides excellent models for Calligraphers. Includes numerous exemplars and references. Go to my Roman Imperial Coin Lettering page.

Binding Hand Written books

A method of binding single section hand written books using commonly available materials and without using specialized bookbinding tools and equipment. Go to my Binding Hand Written books page