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Beautiful examples of 18th-century penmanship by 2 Dutch brothers

[Three calligraphic prize books by Willem and Frans Walbeek].
Warmond (near Leiden), the Netherlands, 1752-1756.
(1) WALBEEK, Willem. Prijs boek. Inhoudende verscheyde geschriften.
Warmond, 1752.
(2) WALBEEK, Willem. Prijs-boek. Inhoudende eenige schriften.
Warmond, 1753.
(3) WALBEEK, Frans. Prijs boek.
Warmond, 1756.
Three oblong albums (ca. 35 x 44 cm). With the same hand drawn illustration of 2 putti holding a laurel wreath on the title-pages of ads 2 and 3, and an ink drawing of a compass (drawing instrument, or other measuring instrument) as part of a calligraphic exercise also in ads 2 and 3. Contemporary marbled paper wrappers. [12]; [1 blank], [13]; [10] ll.
€ 3,500
Fine examples of 18th-century calligraphy in a collection of 3 prize books written between 1753 and 1756. The albums contain a total of 35 examples written in Dutch and French by two Dutch students. The works each contain many different texts, all calligraphed with a narrow-pointed pen in different styles, and beautifully embellished with decorative initials and pen flourishes. Remarkable examples are the 2 lines calligraphed in the shape of 2 W's at the end of the 1753 work by Willem Walbeek, or his letter to a Mr. Jan Danville asking for money. The calligraphic text making up the two Ws reveal some personal information about Willem. He was born on 7 December 1737 and refers to practicing drawing and French on a Saturday afternoon. From another manuscript calligraphic exercise-book by him (not part of the present collection), we know that he was a student at the school of Hermanus vander Laan in Haarlem in 1749-1750. The present albums containing calligraphy examples already have the appearance of a writing masters copy-book, produced by 16-year-old Willem Walbeek and his younger brother(?) Frans to demonstrate their proficiency.
The works are folded in half. The marbled paper wrappers show clear signs of wear, including some browning, the edges of the leaves are frayed, the back wrappers of ads 1 and 2 are torn in half (detached but still present). Ad 2 has a large water stain throughout, without affecting the clarity of the writing, and some leaves show bleeding or offsetting of the ink. Nevertheless, the writing and illustrations remain clearly legible. A remarkable collection of 3 mid-18th-century calligraphy manuscripts by 2 Dutch students. Cf. DBNL, Algemeen letterkundig lexicon: kalligrafie, 2012.
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Autographs, documents & manuscripts  >  Manuscripts & Documents
Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Book History, Calligraphy & Printing | Education & Pedagogy
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