Extraordinary collection of "examples" calligraphied by an early 17th century master writer.
Each example includes a large and beautiful letter of the alphabet, decorated with geometric elements (such as gift letters) or fantastic animal forms, and rhymed verse pieces copied in a bastard script.
These poems, of a savoury and colourful turn of phrase, deal mainly with morality and philosophy (e.g.: Chastity is the soul's victory, Celuy qui veut avoir vie éternelle, Entretenements de femmes et de tous mauvais gouvernements bien à moindrie l'honneur des hommes, etc.); several pieces deal with the art of writing and the craft of mastering it, as for example:
- Brave escrivain monstre moy le / scavoir et le secretz pour l'escriture [....].- At the beginning of this beautiful science it is necessary to use labour / and intelligence, And to know how to write / with measure it is necessary to know how to bind and form the writing [...].- One cannot give too much praise / to the writing where art and knowledge / [....] beautiful writing is excellent to see / Long live virtue & letters and the pen to have gold silver as heavy as an anvil
We have found nothing on the author of these writing models, the so-called Antoine Vinier (?), as well as on the writer M. de Gerentes, who lived in Saint-Antoine (the suburb of Saint-Antoine in Paris or a French town?), whose disciple he claims to be and whose memory he honours.
The first collections of examples of handwriting preserved date from the 15th century. [...] The texts intended to exercise the hand of the pupil or to show the skill of the master are very diverse. One finds fragments of psalms, moralities, proverbs, gallant texts, texts praising the qualities of the master who traced them, chancellery formulas, etc. (Jean Hébrard, "Des écritures exemplaires : l'art du maître écrivain en France entre XVIe et XVIIIe siècle" in Mélanges de l'école française de Rome, 1995, 107/2, pp. 473-523).
The volume also contains 2 drawings of labyrinths cut out and pasted on at the head and at the end.
Oxidation of the ink visible on several leaves. Some paper loss affecting the restored texts. Leaf 28 seems to be missing from the collection.