Edward Johnston’s Foundational Script

Kalligraphia programs continued last Saturday at the Main Library, with calligrapher Antonia Smith demonstrating Edward Johnston's Foundational Script. For those of our readers who couldn't attend, we present here a couple of snapshots of Antonia at work, along with a few Edward Johnston items from the Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering, located here on the 6th floor in Book Arts & Special Collections.

Antonia Smith discusses Edward Johnston with fellow calligraphers.
Edward Johnston based Foundational Script, aka Foundational Hand, on the script of the Ramsey Psalter, now held at the British Museum as " Illuminated Manuscript Harley 2904." As the British Museum so aptly puts it on their website, Foundational Hand "inspired a renewal in 20th-century calligraphy." From the enthusiasm of Saturday's participants, it seems that inspiration carries into the 21st!

Antonia Smith demonstrates how different calligraphers
vary in their execution of the Foundational Hand.

Cover of Edward Johnston's classic instructional manual, in its 5th (1922) edition.
 Edward Johnston File, Harrison Collection, San Francisco Public Library.

Page from Edward Johnston's Manuscript & Inscription Letters.
 Foundational Hand is shown at the top and described at the bottom.

Demonstration sheet, handwritten and printed,
showing Foundational Script at the top.
Edward Johnston File, Harrison Collection, San Francisco Public Library.

To learn more about Edward Johnston and his work, we invite you to visit the Book Arts & Special Collections Center here on the 6th floor of the Main Library.