Auction 137, Lot 864

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

Subject: Miscellany - Calligraphy

Period: 1734-38 (circa)

Publication: Univesal Penman

Color: Hand Color

7 x 12.5 inches
17.8 x 31.8 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:

A. Labour shows a man digging in his garden while his wife breastfeeds her baby, with an older child peeking out from behind her. A vignette below depicts two men pulling a net full of fish into their canoe with the inscription "Socio Ditata Labore" (Society is Enriched by Labor). The text was written by E. Austin and engraved by Bickham.
B. The Penman's Advice gives separate advice "To Young Gentleman" and "To Young Ladies." Above the text is an engraving of putti surrounding a shield with two quills, an olive wreath and the motto "'Penna Perennis erit" (the pen shall be eternal). The text was written by Samuel Vaux and engraved by Bickham.
C. Sculpture is described in the text as "immortal art." At top is an engraving of a stone sculpture surrounded by a sculptor's tools. The text was written by G. Brooks and engraved by Bickham.
D. Excise briefly explains how the excise tax works in England and when it originated. The text focuses on how much salary the people are paid who manage the excise process, which apparently is "above 300,000 L. per annum." Above the text is the Royal British Crown flanked by two putti with numerous flags in the background. The text was written by Nathaniel Dove and engraved by Bickham.


Condition: A

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

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $180

Closed on 9/14/2011