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Rare 17th-century writing book & instructions, for learning without a master

ALLAIS, Jean Baptiste.
L'art d'ecrire.
Paris, chez l'auteur, 1680. Folio. With engraved calligraphic title-page and 18 (of 23) engraved leaves with calligraphic writing samples and illustrations, all engraved by Louis Senault. Disbound, sewn on top.
€ 1,250
First edition of a very elaborate basic writing course and copy book, minutely explaining the composition of the various calligraphic hands (fran?oises, b?tardes, financieres), as well as pen decorations and drawings. The engraved title-page reads, "L'art d'?crire ou Le moyen d'exceler en cet art sans maistre" (suggesting a break with the ancient tradition of learning by apprenticeship or under a school master) and spells the author's name "Allais", while the letterpress title-page spells it "Alais".
The course was designed by Jean Baptiste Allais, dit le Beaulieu, and engraved by Louis Senault, who was a leading writing master in his own right and therefore ideally suited to engrave his colleague's writing book. Some copies were issued with 12 letterpress leaves and many copies are missing letterpress leaves or plates.
Lacking five engraved leaves and browned along the edges.
Becker, Practice of letters 91; Berlin Kat. 5117; Muller, Cat. Calligr., 1; Marzoli 56.
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Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Book History, Calligraphy & Printing