Deconstructed & reconstructed

The Foundational Hand is an excellent starting point for beginners, as well as being a good starting point for understanding typography. It is derived from the Harley 2904 MS in The British library. It’s underlying structure is clear and easily understandable, and ties these minuscules nicely to the Roman Capitals.


We will analyze the original manuscript, look at basic principles, spacing and formal issues, as well as seeing what varieties may breed from this hand. 

I will also be demonstrating advanced techniques like variation of pen angle, pressure variation and building up / retouching.


Although many versions of the Foundational Hand may look dated to us, modernised versions do exist. Also, looking at the original manuscript may infuse our writing with life & rhythm, bearing in mind Johnston’s words: ‘We may lawfully follow a method without imitating a style’.


Acquiring a formal book hand minuscule is practical and useful. It is an essential part of the calligrapher’s palette, along with capitals and italic.


A study of the Foundational Hand can provide us with both rhythm and consistency in our writing.

My live online classes in Zoom include historical lectures, demonstrations, Q&A sessions and correction of homework in Slack.


Thursdays 15th Sept.–6th Oct., 19:30–21:00 CEST.