Catalog Archive
Auction 135, Lot 747

"[Lot of 4 - Calligraphy]", Bickham, George

Subject: Miscellany - Calligraphy

Period: 1735-41 (circa)

Publication: Universal Penman

Color: Hand Color

10 x 15.6 inches
25.4 x 39.6 cm

George Bickham was on the most famous calligraphers of the 18th century. He specialized in copy books and business texts. In 1733 Bickham produced the Universal Penman, which was designed as a practical penmanship instruction and copy-book for the Man of Business. In addition to the plates designed by Bickham, this monumental anthology included the work of 25 contemporary writing masters. These engravings cover a myriad of subjects from poetry and song, festivities, commerce, script pictures, cherubs, griffins, alphabets, decorative panels, cartouches, and calligraphic flourishes, etc. Bickham also published The British Monarchy, which is a collection of 188 plates of historical notes with 43 plates of views of English and Welsh counties. They are called views rather than maps although they are presented as map-like perspectives with major towns marked. Bickham's son, George Bickham, Jr., was also a calligrapher and engraver and worked with his father on several of his publications.

Four interesting leaves with exquisite calligraphy and decoration

1) Covetousness includes vignette of a money counter surrounded by bags of money, and putti with cornucopias full of gold coins. The text speaks of "he that is entirely set upon making a fortune, is all that while undoing the Man," engraved by Joseph Champion.
2) Honour includes a cartouche centered on a warrior's armor. The text addresses the virtue of Honor, engraved by Peter Norman.
3) Invoyces includes an elaborate cartouche that includes a portrait of a Factor (a person who sends an invoice) and a dockside scene. The text explains the concept of invoices, engraved by George Bickham.
4) The Hones Merchant, or, Thorowgood to Trueman includes a bust of a gentleman flanked by classical women representing wealth, one holding a caduceus and scales and the other with a cornucopia. The text describes the character and qualifications of an honest and loyal merchant, engraved by Bland.


Condition: A

Minor soil and a couple of spots in the blank margins.

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $150

Closed on 2/16/2011