The lost art of lettering – for business!

We are so lucky to live in the online age. We type more often than we write.

Calligraphy now is an art, a skill which takes years of practice to develop to a professional level.

But did you know that writing a beautiful calligraphy script was once as important to building a career – any career – as computer skills are today?

I have a small collection of antique calligraphy books; I love exploring old bookshops and discovering 20th century calligraphy instruction books.

In the early 1900s many books were written on the subject of penmanship for business. They are fascinating to read now, not just because we no longer write this way in our daily lives, but because the scripts and examples they include are so intricate and graceful to see.

I can’t begin to imagine how much a solicitor would have charged, a hundred or so years ago, to notably represent his clients in court but also to present written documents in the most exquisite hand calligraphy.

And imagine, if you wanted to apply for a job as a solicitor – how beautifully you’d have to write your CV and covering letter?!

I smile to think of a 21st century bank manager trying to write letters in Spencerian calligraphy. I’d love to see a 1900s businessman compare his handwriting with that of, say, Mark Zuckerberg…

More than anything, I’m proud to be part of a new calligraphy era; young men and women all over the world are picking up pens and creating art for pleasure; lettering is no longer the province of rich businessmen, but a craft enjoyed by tens of thousands of artists all over the world.

Images by lovely Jenny Heyworth Photography

You can see examples of rare calligraphy books at

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