Early Italian Writing-Books: Renaissance to Baroque


Before his death in 1967, English Typographic Historian Stanley Morison had drafted a major work explaining the history and development of early Italian writing books. The text, which was the result of years of involvement in a subject always close to Morison's heart, was close to completion and was sent to James Wells, the curator of the Wing Collection at Chicago's famous Newberry Library for initial editing and revisions. Wells returned the manuscript with massive notes-so many that Morison was obliged to rewrite his text entirely. He dedicated it to Carla Marzoli, who had commissioned the work, and entrusted it to Nicholas Barker for final editing. At last, this manuscript has been completed and it appears in a format and at a price at which even Morison would have rejoiced. Printed in letterpress, with 24 duotone offset illustrations, this book examines the calligraphy of the sixteenth century from Arrighi to Ugo da Carpi, from Tagliente to Celebrino da Udine. As always with Morison, it is full of surprises, for this was Morison's particular passion, and in the area of stylistic comparisons and close observation, Morison was an undisputed master. This is, then, not only the last major Morison text to be published, but also one of fundamental importance, covering the most important period (and the most beautiful examples) in the history of calligraphy. Published by Martino Mardersteig's Edizioni Valdonega, it is being released in America exclusively by David R. Godine for the members of HOC VOLO. Beautifully printed letterpress and bound in full cloth, it is an indispensable addition to any library involved in the history of printing and the development of letters.

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