With the boom of TV and cinema period dramas as Pride and Prejudice or The Bridgerton, it is not a surprise that we believe that everyone in Regency England had calligraphy lessons and wrote in a beautiful and embellished style. But there is nothing farther from the truth, it was not calligraphy but the humble handwriting what was used in domestic life.
Even though being closely related, handwriting and calligraphy are not the same. I like to compare the act of every day writing as “walking”, and the practice of calligraphy as “dancing”. We learn how to walk at an early age and then we just walk without thinking. On the other hand, dancing requires training on various steps and their coordination in time and space. If we talk about calligraphy, the guidelines are the dance floor, the strokes are the steps and the consistency on the writing is the rhythm.
Is handwriting still used?
Now, a personal question: -When was the last time you wrote in cursive? I imagine your answer will be “- In primary school”. Isn’t that right? Unfortunatelly, most of us have lost the ability of expressing ourselves in handwriting. And with its lost, we have given away part of our identity too. Calligraphy lessons give us back beauty but take away personality to our words.
It is not my intention to find flaws in those film adaptations for not presenting the individuality of the characters’ handwriting. On the contrary, I appreciate these beautiful letters as part of the romantic image that has enchanted us all. In fact, more often than not, I use the words from my favourite characters from Jane Austen’s novels to practise Copperplate or made up their handwriting just to amuse myself.
In fact, when my hand is not “walking” writing a shopping list, I love to allow my muscles to dance at the beautiful rhythm of Jane Austen’s words. I hope you will do too.
Until next time,