Calligraphy Workshop

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Date(s) - 24/08/2022
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Bridlington Priory Rooms


The monastic Priory must have been a hive of craft activity in stone, wood, glass and much more. To commemorate this, Priory 900 organized a series of workshops on alternate Saturdays throughout the season. Each workshop offered a small group the chance to work with an expert to practise some of the skills involved.

Workshop Tutor: George Stephenson

In the medieval Priory, the copying of manuscripts became a high art, seen at is best in the Bridlington Breviary or prayer book (see left) , which can be seen in the Bayle Museum. But of course there were many other more everyday books being copied, for use in church and in the extensive monastic library, or simply for keeping accounts or inventories. Manuscripts using all upper case letters are called majuscule, those using all lower case are called minuscule. Usually, the majuscule scripts such as uncial are written with much more care. The scribe lifted his pen between each stroke, producing an unmistakable effect of regularity and formality. On the other hand, while minuscule scripts can be written with pen-lift, they may also be cursive (little or no pen-lift).

George Stevenson is an expert calligrapher who works not only in the Priory but in York Minster and Canterbury Cathedral, and is in charge of calligraphy for the Visitors’ Centre at Ampleforth Abbey – which is where, as a scholarship boy, he originally trained with a monk who was the world’s foremost calligrapher. He is a Fellow of the SSI in London and has produced work for many famous people including Prince Charles and the Queen Mother.

The Aims of the Workshop
The workshop aimed to promote the use of calligraphy and to encourage knowledge of letter shape and structure. Participants gained insight into letter formation, spacing between lines and words and letter and interlinear spacing, and angularity of the pen for different types of lettering. Participants also learnt to keep the nib under control on the paper to improve the sharpness, density of colour and layout.

Both sessions focused on foundational Roman round hand, covering miniscules (small letters) in the morning session and majuscules (capitals) in the afternoon session.

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