Bancroft Library Roundtable: “To make letters live, that men themselves may have more life”: Manuscript Analysis and the Lettering Arts
Lecture | November 21 | 12-1 p.m. | Faculty Club, Lewis-Latimer Room
Chris McDonald, Assistant Pictorial Archivist, The Bancroft Library
The Bancroft Library is home to one of the more significant collections of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the nation, with holdings rivaling the breadth and depth of those of such sister institutions as The Huntington Library and the Getty. Although used chiefly by scholars of art history, languages and literature, the Bancroft's medieval and renaissance manuscripts play a very active role in the library's instructional program for the benefit of scholars from throughout U.C. Berkeley's wide and diverse academic spectrum. While the content of the texts and illuminations are the most commonly studied aspects of medieval and renaissance manuscripts, another long-standing -- if more esoteric -- tradition of study pertains to the letterforms of the scripts found in such documents. The discipline of manuscript analysis, first formalized by Edward Johnston, was developed as a cornerstone skill in the modern revival of Western lettering, calligraphy and illumination that emerged in England in the early 20th century. To this day, the discipline has served as an important key to understanding and inspiration for artists whose work draws significantly on historical letterforms. Chris McDonald, an archivist in Bancroft's Pictorial Unit, will draw on his training as a scribe to elucidate the technique and value of this discipline as practiced by today's calligraphers, type designers and other lettering artists. Analysis of a selection of manuscripts from Bancrofts collection will illustrate the presentation.
The Lewis-Latimer Room has a maximum capacity of 28 people. The doors will be shut and no more attendees may enter once the room is at capacity.
Food is available for purchase at the Faculty Club.