Archive for the Category » Gothic Textura Quadrata script «

A modern example of Blackletter

although I don’t know what *sort* of Blackletter it is

Thank you to Margaret for the link to his site

A beautiful modern example of G.T.Q.

I just found a beautiful modern example of Gothic Textura Quadrata script.

It’s a scroll created by Mistress Yseult de Lacy of Lochac College

The writing looks so ‘clean’.

Script Analysis Example

I really like the description/script analysis of “Remains of a Medieval Anthiponal” at
done by Brown University Libray as one of a series of articles “Focus on the John Hay Library”

The Antiphonal’s script is a gothic rotunda (littera gothica textualis rotunda italiana formata), not gothic textura quadrata, but the information and it’s layout is interesting and relevant.

I’ve read lots of descriptions of various scripts now and this one is about my speed talking specifically about letter formation, different forms of letters, ligatures and biting bows.
- placing the script of the antiphonal into it’s historical context.

Interesting Things

BabelStone has a wonderful post about the Long S. He talks about it’s history and it’s positional rules, with lots of pictures

Gothic scripts

I was just looking at the Medieval Writing site.

Very handily (and neatly)
pretty much describes the Gothic scripts I’ll be studying by doing the script analysis of
the Bedford Psalter, the Queen Mary Psalter and the Geese Book.

And the next page,
describes what I want to study after that – the bastarda variations, (more ornate) and I’ll also incorporate Cadeaux, which are in period.

Checking the letter shapes are correct

In addition to explaining about ‘hanging diamonds‘ Reggie mentioned in his answer to me, Meisterin Katarina Helene also pointed out to me that the process of using an overlay to check an example of my work with the original that Reggie suggested was actually the opposite of ‘the normal’ or ‘natural’ way you’d check.

Naturally, you’d overlay your work on top of the original.

Reggie recommended that you do it the other way around – having a transparency in red lettering of the original and laying it over my work and “the differences will jump out”.

He also said “very importantly, take any piece you do and hold it up to a window so the back side of the paper is facing you. This truely helps you to see your work with new eyes: very important if you are hard pressed for good critical input.

I know about looking at it upside down, but I’ll give looking at it in reverse as well in future.

Meisterin Katarina Helene also suggested :
“Another trick you might try is to make very pale copies of Drogin, and then use a color wash in your nib to trace over them, or place a piece of tracing paper over the copy and then trace them with your own pen in another color. This helps you train your hand in forming the correct shapes.”

…..which would be good for when I’m starting to learn the Bedford Psalter ductus for some of the more complicated letters. (like the weird G)

Gothic Textura Quadrata – Spacing

I’ve written of my journey discovering that the spacing between letters, as well as counterspace of each letter, is one pen width between the verticals for Historical Gothic Textura Quadrata script.
The way I was taught modern Gothic script was one pen width between the letters, not the verticals. This destroys the ‘picket fence’ effect achieved by doing the spacing between the verticals.

I asked Tetchubah the other day “why did the spacing change?”
She said “that the spacing changed for the same reason most of us don’t calligraph “pure” gothic – it’s more readable that way. Also, as more readable hands came into being I suspect that their influence bled over to scribes doing gothic, and of course gothic eventually fell out of fashion. What I mean by bled over is that if you’ve practiced one hand extensively, it tends to influence how you write other hands.

And, of course, except in Germany, the Gothic hand fell entirely out of fashion, entirely out of use, for centuries. When it started being re-used by non-Germans in the 20th century, the calligraphers wenton the whole for readability, not the picket fence effect.

Spacing – Happy Dance

I talked a bit with Tetchubah and Meisterin Katarina.

To quote Meisterin Katarina

“I think you are correct, the “1 pen width” rule applies to the vertical strokes, it the verticals as being the 1 pen width, not the starting of the letter. In other words, the serifs can touch, and the bottoms can touch, but there will be at least one pen width (give or take a bit) between all of the vertical strokes.”

In another mail

“That was what they did in the Gothic era… those monks started to learn how to form those letters when they were children, their hands and eyes were trained to see just the right amount of space between each vertical. “

To quote Tetchubah

From what you've sent, though, I have to agree that gothic TQ is definitely "better" looking (and by that I mean more period) the more unreadable it is.  The picket fence look is exactly what you're looking for in this hand.  It can be difficult to achieve successfully thought - I've been trying for years and still aren't happy with the results.  Plus, I prefer to have my scrolls readable so tend to put spaces between the letters rather than run them into each other."


The difference is between 'modern' g.t.q, which is more readable because it spaces between the letters, and the more historic version of g.t.q, which spaces between the verticals, as I described in the Straight Lines-Confusion post.

So I can do either. Since Paul has set me to do the script analysis of the Bedford Hours, Queen Mary Psalter and Geese Book, I guess that all my script practice and script produced from that activity will be 'the old way'. Who cares about readability when coming from that sense? (script analysis, knowing the proper historical way)

Tetchubah has promised me more information on the subject when she gets home to her computer later this week - which I look forward to avidly.


OK, so I’ve been practising the “dipped” tops, and the straight lines and diamonds, with writing that latin sentence that is all m’s and n’s, u’s and i’s as part of that practise (I’ll do the pen flourish-y practise later)
It occured to me today that my Latin sentence was too legible. You could distinguish the individual letters, whereas the whole point of this sentence is that they should only be distinguishable by the joins internal to the m, n and u’s.

So I had a look at the spacing. I measured point to point of the diamonds in Drogin’s example of the B.H. I measured point to point on another page of the B.H.
And they are all equally distanced, regardless of which part of which letter they are.
The page I measured from varied a little, but it was pretty consistent. (4 or 5 mm, regardless of letter height)

I measured mine, and they were all over the place. I’m putting in extra space between each of the letters.

So now I’m about to print out some new graph paper with 5 mm wide columns, (one for each vertical) and a second lot of lines spaced at 1mm, so I can size the diamonds for each vertical correctly.
The diamonds will be very nearly touching. (they should be 4 mm wide) unless it is a ‘n’ or ‘m’ where they have the joins at the top.
They would touch if the flicks are added to the diamonds (this is the final step in creating the diamonds, and one I’m not going near at the moment. Flicks are easy)

I’m suppressing a quiet urge to scream. I shall get this right. One day. At least I’ve got pretty good at doing the built up diamonds, and the dipped tops, though I haven’t done dipped bottoms yet.

I was looking at the Second Coming last night. I always thought the writing was below my best standard, and actually pretty crap. With this recent knowledge/practise, it appears even crapper. But that means that I’m progressing :-)

As I looked I was wondering why to the Lord God why I did a two columnar format for the piece, as it destroys the rhythm of the poem, and makes it hard to read. As Paul pointed out, it should be at least 5 words to the column to start with.
I was imitating the layout of the 42 line Gutenberg Bible – that’s why I did it.
But from Paul’s comment about modifying design to suit the piece (in terms of the length of the bottom margin) – I wouldn’t do it like that again. I don’t feel that I have to follow what the source mss did – but use it as inspiration, and use the medieval ‘rules’ plus modern design rules in my design work.

I’ve put some information (like Fraktur being a German version of the German script) which is kind of really obvious. And about the spacing today. It’s really obvious information. But I’m finding that there is a big difference between reading about something, and *realising* it. Once it’s realized, you don’t forget it. It kind of goes internal.

Graph paper printing time ……and only very quiet screams.

Straight Lines and Diamonds – argh

I said somewhere back there that the first of my practise would be straight lines and diamonds, especially since my diamonds weren’t ‘just touching’ the lines, so that is part of what I’m practising at the moment.

So I’ve been practising to get my diamonds just touching the lines. And then last night I noticed that the Bedford Hours diamonds are built up – made more pointed with the nib edge at the line-touching end.
So now I’m practising built up just-line touching diamonds. It’s a bugger – my practise paper doesn’t like it much and I’m getting paper fibre in my nib.
I’m doing that sentence that was created to look unintelligible in g.t.q. – all m, n, u, i’s and a few v’s. So endless diamonds and straight lines. I’m not worried at this stage if the B.H m,n,u, i’s and v’s are slightly different in form – I’m going with the basic ones because this is about lines and diamonds. I’ll post it when I can get it looking reasonable.