Monday, February 18, 2013

Pen Practice for George

An early 19th century Spencerian pen work drawing, "Sacred to the memory of the illustrious George Washington; Columbia's Great and Successful Son, Honored be his name." This lovely 17 x 22" hand-lettered drawing from a Nashville, Tennessee estate sold at Case Antiques auction house recently. The lettering artist is unknown, but the spirit of their pen work is felt in the message it conveys, "Gen George Washington departed this life Dec 14th 1799 And the tears of a Nation watered his grave." Based upon the technical skill of the calligrapher for this work, I would suggest that it was done as a student exercise, which was a common practice for penmans of that era.  
A similar George Washington memorial exercise seen here could very well have been lettered in the same classroom. It credits "Luther Tasker Professor of Penmanship" and in the lower left corner "Plain Writing Taught in one course of 12 sessions." Along the bottom it states "Lessons in Off Hand Flourishing Plain and Ornamental Writing." This sold manuscript and the one just below were both found at Skinner Auctions. 

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