JEHAN DE BEAU-CHESNE (1538? – AFTER 1610)
AND JOHN BAILDON (FL. 1570)
A Booke Containing Divers Sortes of Hands, as well the English as French Secretarie with the Italian, Roman, Chancelry & Court Hands
London: Imprinted by Thomas Vautrouillier, 1570
Plimpton 092 1570 B38 (STC 6446)
This book, the first work on handwriting printed in England, is an enlarged adaptation of Beauchesne’s Le Thresor d’Escripture, printed in Paris in 1550 and Lyon in 1580. The woodcut plates show a wide variety of scripts, including many forms of both secretary and italic, and a number of purely decorative hands. De Beauchesne, a French Huguenot immigrant, was a writing master who became tutor to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, the only daughter of King James I. Baildon’s role in the work is uncertain; he may have cut the woodblocks, or edited the work. Containing thirty-seven leaves (this copy lacking nine leaves, dedication and letter press), the work includes admirable examples of gothic and secretary hands, as well as chancery, italic, secretary written with the left hand (a reversed hand read through a mirror) and other hands. One other incomplete copy of this edition and a fragment are known to exist.
Gift of George Arthur Plimpton