(Madrid: Antonio de Sancha, 1776). 308 x 222 mm. (12 1/8 x 8 3/4"). 1 p.l., xxviii, 136 pp., [1] leaf. FIRST EDITION.

Contemporary quarter sheep over marbled boards, paper label on flat spine. Vignette initials and 40 FINE PLATES SHOWING EXAMPLES OF ELEGANT PENMANSHIP within frames containing a series of elaborate flourishes. Palau XX, 24. Corners and bottom edges of paper boards very worn, backstrip a bit dry, a little general wear and soiling to covers and spine (as well as one small ink splash on back board), isolated minor soiling and a few stray ink marks in the text, but the original fragile binding entirely sound, and a very attractive copy in general because EXTREMELY FINE INTERNALLY, with very fresh and clean plates and text, the latter within especially ample margins.

This work comprises the first printing of an 18th century scholarly examination of the calligraphy of Pedro Diaz Morante (ca. 1566-1636), a Spanish calligrapher from Toledo whose work shows the influence of Italian writing masters of the period. It is an influential writing manual which marked a revival of the art of calligraphy in Spain. The style that Diaz Morante developed and taught appeared originally in the now excessively rare "Nueva Arte de Escribir" (1615), and the present work, the title of which echoes the earlier book, was inspired by it. It includes a study of Diaz Morante's technique by Francisco Xavier de Santiago Palomares, along with 40 elegant plates executed by Santiago Palomares in the calligraphic style of Diaz Morante. Santiago Palomares (1718 or 1728-96) was a paleographer and pioneer in the study of Spanish historical hands. He began his researches in the archives of Toledo, continued them at the Escorial library, and came to promote a national style of writing that could be executed with speed by systematic practice without deforming individual letters. In order to achieve this, he chose to develop and modify the hand of Diaz Morante as it appeared at the beginning of the 17th century. The fine plates showing samples of elegant and simple letters in various sizes are engraved by Francisco Asensio y Mejorada. The last specimen illustrated is the work of one of the author's young pupils, Maria Josefa Bahamonde, who at the age of 12 was able to write almost as well as a master. There are short sections devoted to the choice and cut of quills, the position of the pen, and the formation of letters modelled on examples provided.

Price: $2,100.00