"Very welcome . . . magnificent." — Graphis
"A valuable addition for art directors." — Advertising Age
This is the only complete edition available of one of the most famous and most useful books of commercial art ever printed. George Bickham, a noted engraver and calligrapher, first compiled this work back in the 1740’s, from the best specimens of 24 of the leading calligraphers of his day. Unfortunately, Bickham published his work in 52 separate parts, over a period of eight years. In Bickham’s own day it was difficult to get a complete set of the Universal Penman; today, apart from this edition, it is virtually impossible, for most surviving 18th-century copies lack certain rare plates. This Dover edition, however, contains every plate which Bickham engraved, and each is reproduced from an original so remarkably clear that these modern plates are actually better than most 18th-century originals.
This book contains more than 210 full-page plates, each crammed full of beautiful and interesting material. To list only part of its contents:
• Over 125 pictorial scenes, clear copperplates of drinking scenes, family scenes, commerce, rustic festivities, duels, more.
• Over 200 script pictures, male and female heads, busts, cherubs, griffins, birds, fish, etc.
• 19 complete alphabets: round hand, round text, Old English, florid, foliated, and others.
• 275 lettered specimens, overlaid with fine flourishes, swirls, spirals, featherings, volutes, etc.
• Over 100 panels, frames, cartouches, and other effects
Over 950 lettered specimens, with thousands of words that can be lifted right off for reproduction.
Individual items in this book are permission-free, and may be used (up to ten items per use) without permission, payment, or credit line. Calligraphers find Bickham the best source for English round-handwriting; commercial artists, advertising directors, and designers all find Bickham first-rate as a source for immediately usable pictures and script that suggests antiquity, quality, and reliability. Craftspeople have found it rich in unusual ideas and motifs, while libraries and art historians find it a wonderful collection of 18th-century pictures illustrating art-life.