George Bickham’s Penmanship Made Easy (Young Clerks Assistant) by George Bickham

George Bickham’s Penmanship Made Easy (Young Clerks Assistant) by George Bickham

George Bickham was an enterprising eighteenth-century engraver and calligrapher who promoted the practice of proper penmanship. This volume, an unabridged reprint of his now extremely rare calligraphy manual, The Young Clerks Assistant,provided “young practitioners” with much valuable information on how to write not only legibly but also with beauty and grace. 

The book begins with “Directions for Learners,” a series of helpful hints on forming letters, holding the pen, arm and wrist positions, proper posture, and so on, followed by a wealth of calligraphic specimens: alphabets, maxims, didactic verses, and other words of advice for elevating the moral standards of the young.

For modern calligraphers, Bickham’s guide offers an abundance of models for imitation and provides a delightful look back at the instruction manuals and teaching methods of the mid-1700s. Enhanced with many charming engravings, this hard-to-find antique teaching tool can be read as easily for pleasure as for inspiration. It will appeal to calligraphers, graphic artists, and any devotee of fine penmanship. 


Rating: 5 out of 5.

George Bickham’s Penmanship Made Easy by George Bickham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Practicing cursive has been so much fun and very relaxing during lockdown.

I’d highly recommend this book one to anyone who is interested in learning or perfecting.

I got my copy from Townsends. Which is printed on textured paper and bound together with stitching. A very nice touch.

I’ve wanted to continue to practice for many years and have finally picked it up again, I’m especially finding it helpful for adding a bit of elegance to my crafts/card-making activities.

Originally published in 1787, this booklet is for those who want to learn the art of penmanship.

It has fancy scripts ranging from Italian to Roman style, Round-hand, German, Square Text, Old English- which is a more heavy-handed gothic serif of sorts calligraphy, to more whimsical, infinity loops/scroll, all very beautiful.

I loved the comparisons of alphabet letters, the instructions that were presented with verses, as well as story poetry lines.

Really loved that the letter “x” is not xylophone, instead the example spells Xerxes. That’s how kids learned the letter back then.

I particulary found it helpful to develop my style of: P, A, D, X, L, Q, G, C, R, S, J, f, d.

I’m looking forward to practicing some more.

View all my reviews

Sketch Book | Erica Robbin

“The Young Clerks Assistant or Penmanship Made Easy” was originally published in 1787. This booklet contains directions for young practitioners who wish to learn the art of penmanship. 

Begins with basic directions on the formation of letters and then contains many examples of different hands to copy.

Calligraphy Practice | Erica Robbin
Calligraphy Alphabet Letters | Erica Robbin
1798 Classroom Rules | Erica Robbin
This photo (above) is a copy of some 1798 school rules.

Calligraphy Letter Practice | Erica Robbin

Rule 4. Do not scribble in your own or one another’s spelling, reading, writing, or ciphering books.

In particular, I’ve tried to find my style of the following letters:

P, A, D, X, L, Q, G, C, R, S, J, f, d

Do you enjoy building on your style of penmanship/cursive?What type of pens do you use? Let me know in the comments below!

One style I want to try next is Persian calligraphy.

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