Script For Your Persona

Well, we have been on the subject of persona development and persona handwriting for a few weeks now so I thought I might offer the information I’ve found via a font site authored by Pia Frauss. She has studied the script handwriting of several notable figures from pre-17th century Europe. Here is what she found:

This first historically-based script is of the French persuasion — I know, not my usual focus, but a dear friend asked about handwriting for her persona and I feel happy to be able to contribute something. Don’t worry, the rest of the scripts are Italian!

XiBeronne is a plain Black Letter script inspired by a very beautiful and very celebrated French manuscript written at the beginning of the 15th century, containing — and splendidly illustrating — Gaston Phoebus’ Book of the Hunt. Illustrations of that manuscript were displayed on the Net by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Just a bit of information: Gaston Phoebus, Count of Foix (Foix is a pretty town on the French side of the Pyrenees), was a Gascon nobleman, living from 1331 up to 1391. He went occasionally to fight in Prussia, intent on avoiding to take sides in the war raging between French and Englishmen in southern France (or Aquitania, as it was called then), throughout the 14th century. History doesn’t portray him as a pleasant character. His Book of the Hunt, however, written during the last years of his life, didn’t rest confined to that expensive manuscript. Among the earliest works to be published in print, it turned into a bestseller at once, and continued as such, all over Europe, for centuries to come. He was the most famous authority on his subject, and his instructions were followed so eagerly that by the 19th century, France had been literally emptied of deer. I sincerely hope this piece of news won’t keep you from enjoying my font (after all, the illiterate poachers may have had a hand in the disaster, mayn’t they?).


Tagettes & TagettesPlus are the type of Italian chancery cursive of the 16th and 17th century that is mostly called Cancellaresca. They were developped out of a page of samples created by the French writing master Louis Barbedor around 1650 (unfortunately, the man’s name is already taken by another font, so I had to invent a fancy name). Monsieur Barbedor provided such a variety of ps and fs and gs etc. that for a while I got quite lost in that jungle. At long last, I realized, moreover, that swashing too many of the lower case glyphs would make the font look crammed. So, I finally settled on the swashed g — since that is of my own invention –, as well as a swashed f, and y, sending the swashed b, d, h, k, p, and l off to the alternate font called TagettesPlus.

Tagettes - Ital

The MalaTesta fonts are based on a writing sample, titled “Lettere piacevolle“, and dating from the 16th century. I copied it out of a book from the library, years ago, but forgot to include the caption, and kept no notes concerning the source. After turning it into a font, I had to search the Net for information … and I found it! Doing a search for that queer title led me to a Google book, by Lewis F. Day, on Penmanship of the 16th, 17th, and 18th century, which is displaying my writing sample (among lots of others), and stating that it was taken from A booke containing divers sortes of hands, published by J. de Beauchesne and J. Baildon, in 1571. Apparently, Beauchesne/Baildon didn’t name the writing master who created this “rather fantastic italic hand” — quoting Lewis F. Day’s judgment here; and I don’t think he meant it in an altogether favorable way.

(BTW, that precious Google book, which is downloadable as a free PDF, even contains two samples of Francisco Lucas’ penmanship).


You can find all of Pia Frauss’ documentation and her fonts here:

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