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Even though many believe that calligraphy is a ghost from the past, the modern world is full of this art. Earlier, calligraphy was a skill that not everyone possessed. Today, calligraphy is still relevant in the field of web design and the world of creativity. 

The history of calligraphy is truly fascinating, especially in the 18th century. Why is this time frame especially important for calligraphy evolution and development? This is the period that was somewhere between the era of calligraphy and the modern, familiar to us font.

Brief Overlook of Calligraphy Highlights in 18th Century

Many people tend to believe that the era of calligraphy ended in the 18th century. The development of all the other industries, especially trade, has created a need so that calligraphy becomes available to the majority. Earlier the writing skill was not so accessible and only certain people possessed it. But the growing opportunities to master writing skills have led to the fact that professionals have lost the so-called monopoly in the writing industry.

Still, some of them became real experts and began to teach others their skills. As for the opinion that the 18th century was the end of calligraphy, it would be better to say that at this time, the art of calligraphy was already developed at such a level it exists today.

By and large, this is the merit of the Round Hand-style of writing that emerged in the middle of the 17th century. The main idea of the style was the ability to simplify handwriting rules and practices, and make the written word more understandable for perception, and more accessible for ordinary people to master.

Round Hand As The Impetus For The Emergence of More Simplified Writing

It is noteworthy that the Round Hand takes its origins from Italy. But already in 1600, this font became popular in Great Britain. This font is notable for the slight contrast between thick and thin lines. It has smoother curves without corners. It is possible to assume that such features were formed due to the appearance of sharp metal nibs. Also, the feature of such writing style is an angle of 30-40 degrees. These are the basic distinguishing characteristics of this font.

Why did these handwriting style features come about? The reason for this is not only the appearance of nibs, where the two halves of the metal are smoothly separated. It was this feature of the pen that created the effect of contrast among thin and thick lines.

The need for efficient trading has led to an increased need for more legible handwriting. Today this script seems sophisticated, but previously it was a commercial typeface suitable for a variety of documents, for example, to create contracts, ledgers, and other sales documents.

Since this period of time provided access to the skill of writing, craftsmen began to create copybooks with samples of just such a font. The skill of writing, legibly, and elegantly has become indispensable for all educated men and of course women. Almost every year, such notebooks began to appear that were an example of the ideal handwriting to which everyone should strive.

Also, this font has gained popularity because it has become simpler to implement, unlike other styles. Simplicity and speed have been relevant in the creation of many significant documents.

Samples of the Calligraphy Evolution of 18th Century Writing From Refinement to a Simpler Font

As already mentioned, this period can be considered a transformation in the field of calligraphy. Some copybooks can be illustrative examples of the evolution of calligraphy to a more familiar typeface for modern people.

Learning to read calligraphy from that time is a little easier than earlier materials. Connoisseurs of this art willingly collect examples of calligraphy from different eras.  Below you will find examples that are publicly available on the Internet. The next samples will illustrate the key essence of 18th-century calligraphy, which even beginners can handle.

●       Shelley, George, and Seddon, John. The Penman’s Magazine, 1705.  This is the first publication of author George Shelley, who played a special role in the development of such a style as Round Hand.

●       Bickham, George. Round Text, a new copy-book, 1712. The author is a major figure in the creation of the Round Hand. The author has engraved many copybooks for over 40 years, starting in 1710. This is a good example of this font's classic.

●       Tomkins, Thomas. The beauties of writing, 1777. In this book, it is worth noting that there is a stricter contrast between thick and thin lines, which is a little different from the Round Hand classics. Perhaps this is because the author used a sharp pointier, which created such an effect.

●       Browne, Samuel. General Rules to be observed in writing the Round-hands. 1778. This is not just an example of a Round Hand script, but it is also a real guide. This book has helpful tips and advice on how to arrange letters and words.

●       Langford, Robert. A copybook of capitals, 1793. Here you can see the capital letters that are good samples of the Round Hand.


The roots and development of calligraphy are fascinating. It took a long path from ancient times to something more familiar. If we talk about the 18th century, then this is a remarkable period in calligraphy. This time allows us to look at the evolution of our familiar font and even get acquainted with examples created 300 years ago but still available today.


About the Author:

Nancy P. Howard has been working as a writing expert at best-rated research paper writing service for two years. She also works with custom writing review ratings. She loves traveling, photography and is always welcome to meet new people.