Repost from @afamuseum using @RepostRegramApp - 🖋#OnThisDay in 1785 ornithologist John James #Audubon was born. We’re celebrating his birthday with “Spencerian Birds,” an ornate lesson in #calligraphy from 1850–1890.️🕊 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Calligraphy, or writing as a #decorative art, was especially popular in America during the second half of the nineteenth century. Originally used as an exercise to train students to perfect their #handwriting , steel pen #drawings made with repeated #cursive #flourishes and strokes provided an interesting diversion from the repetitive penning of p’s and q’s in learning to write. Calligraphic drawing also gave the accomplished scribe a means of showing his or her ability and gave #penmanship masters a way to advertise their profession. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This example served as both a drawing and writing exercise for the students of Miss Lillian Hamm. The individual #birds on small cards were executed by the students, then pasted onto a larger drawing and presented to their teacher. The style of calligraphy used here is often called “Spencerian drawing,” after Platt Rogers Spencer (1800–1864), the best known of the nineteenth-century penmanship instructors. In addition to teaching, Spencer promoted his method of “Semi-Angular” penmanship in a series of copybooks that also contained ornamental exercises. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Image: Spencerian Birds, students of Miss Lilian Hamm (dates unknown), United States, c. 1850–1900, watercolor and ink on paper, 19 1/2 x 18 1/4 in., gift of Cyril Irwin Nelson in memory of his grandparents Guerdon Stearns and Elinor Irwin (Chase) Holden, and in honor of his parents, Cyril Arthur and Elise Macy Nelson, 1983.29.4. Photo by Helga Photo Studio.
Text: Elizabeth V. Warren, "Spencerian Birds," in Stacy C. Hollander, American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2001), 353. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #FolkArtMuseum #Spencerian #bird #ornithology #OTD #FromTheCollection #putabirdonit - 28 minutes ago