Book Illustrations, Let the Pen Live (L) and Plate 5, Studies of the Proportion of the Body, in Universal Penmanship, compiled as The Museum of Arts, or, The Curious Repository, ca. 1745
In his introduction, Bickham extols the "usefulness and beauty" of writing: the "make and proportion of letters [must] be once well fixed" then, after much practice, the writer will gain an "easiness of gesture and disengaged air." Bickham opines that drawing is a necessary part of writing.
These plates capture the essence of Bickham’s words. The plate on the left glorifies the art of writing—the hand holding the quill appears to be ensconced in a cloud. The plate on the right is a more technical study of letter formation through the use of circles and ideal drawing proportions exampled by mythological figures, Venus and Meleager.
It is credited
Smithsonian Libraries, Gift of the Misses Hewitt.
Its dimensions are
Closed: 37 x 23.3 x 2.5 cm (14 9/16 in. x 9 3/16 in. x 1 in.) Open: 37 x 4605 cm (14 9/16 in. x 151 ft. 1 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.