Signed.. .Pretty Writer

Dear Arrighi,

Could you tell me the difference between Copperplate and Spencerian? Are they related? Do you use the same pen and ink?

Pretty Writer

Dear Pretty Writer,

I can explain it best by giving a little history of both. “Copperplate” is a name given this round hand style originating from the 17th century French “Ronde” which was written with a pointed quill which was flexible and gave a difference in stroke width.

The English adopted and adapted this legible and quickly written style for commerce. At this time, it became widely used and many copybooks were needed to teach it. These copybooks were using a metal burin (stylus) to engrave the letters into the copper plates to be inked, rubbed off, then printed onto the page. This process brought about excellent engravers who embellished the letters and made flourishes and shades in places inconsistent with the pointed pen. Over time, penmen tried to copy these forms with pens and found “drawing” them to be the only way to reproduce them. What resulted was a more static form of writing.

In the 19th century many forms of ornamental penmanship were popular. Probably all were influenced by Copperplate.

Platt Rogers Spencer was a dynamic individual who developed the form of handwriting named Spencerian Script. It was intended to teach to the masses and was widely taught throughout the U.S. It is written faster with more individuality than Copperplate. There are fewer shades to the lower case and the Capitals are very fluid and flourished. Both alphabets are written with an oblique pen and flexible pointed nib & the same inks. Certainly after learning either of tehse letterforms the other can be learned pretty easily. They are both beautiful, graceful and flowing styles.