Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Printing History & Book Arts > 5. John De Beauchesne

5.  John De Beauchesne (1538? -after 1610) and John Baildon (fl. 1570).  A Booke Containing Divers Sortes of Hands. London: Thomas Vautrouillier, 1570. RBML, Plimpton Collection

This work, an enlarged adaptation of De Beauchesne's Le Thresor d'Escripture (Paris, 1550), was the first book on handwriting to be printed in England. De Beauchesne, a French Huguenot immigrant, was a writing master who became tutor to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, 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, 1936

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