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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

T-50. Type, Lettering, & Calligraphy, 1450-1830

James Mosley

The development of the major formal and informal book hands, the dominant printing types of each period, and their interrelationship. Topics include: the Gothic hands; humanistic script; the Renaissance inscriptional capital; Garamond and the spread of the Aldine Roman; calligraphy from the chancery italic to the English round hand; the neo-classical book and its typography; and early commercial typography. The course presupposes a general knowledge of Western history and some awareness of the continuity of the Latin script but no special knowledge of typographical history. See T-55 for a description of the continuation of this course.

It is presumed that applicants, even though they may not have had formal exposure to typographic history, have a considerable but general interest in the history of the book. In their personal statement, prospective students should describe their background in the field (if any), and mention what aspects of letterforms (if any) are of particular interest to them.

Course Resources

Course History


James Mosley has taught this course many times since 1984.