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  • Object type

  • Museum number

    B,10.1-23

  • Description

    Grotesque Alphabet; the letter S is missing, and of A, T and V only fragments remain; each letter is surrounded by a border of three lines; the letters are formed of groups of figures; the letters A, B, H, N, and Q are partially coloured with vermilion. When complete, this alphabet consists of 23 letters (omitting J, U, and W) and one design of ornamental foliage. 1464 Woodcut

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  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1464
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 117 millimetres (average dimension)
    • Width: 90.75 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscription engraved on the letter K: "mon [symbol of a heart] aves" On the letter B is written in ink: "Rebells" (?) On the letter L are written in ink: "London" and below "Westminster" (cf. Dodgson, Burlington Magazine, vol. XVII) On the letters K, R, X, Y, Z the letters are repeated in black ink (perhaps XVIIc. hand)
  • Curator's comments

    The alphabet was printed on three sheets, in two rows, with four letters each. The only other (complete) impression of the alphabet is also in the BM (1947,0724.1-19). The letter A of this latter impression is dated "m cccc lxiiij". Different copies of the alphabet exist, such as an engraving by the Master of the Banderoles, and a woodcut series in Basel. The cut's origin had been a matter of speculation. The attribution to France was primarily based on the French inscription on the letter K. Schreiber and Dodgson believe Flanders is the production place, as there is an affinity between the present design and older Netherlandish blockbooks (especially Ars Morendi, of which also a French edition exists). The original binding of this alphabet is kept at 158.d.1 (1973-U-1176 (1...2)).

    Lit: C. Dodgson, ' A Grotesque Alphabet of 1464', London, 1899; A.M Hind, ‘An Introduction to the History of Woodcut, London, 1935, vol. i, pp. 147-52

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  • Bibliography

    • Schreiber 1926-1930 1998 bibliographic details
    • Dodgson 1903, 1911 A.131 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (German XVc Mounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1823-1825 (circa)

  • Acquisition notes

    Dodgson notes that the Alphabet was in Beaumont's possession by 1819.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    B,10.1-23

Grotesque Alphabet; the complete alphabet should consist of 23 letters (omitting  J, U, and W) and one design of ornamental foliage; in the present edition, the letter S is missing, and of  A, T and V only fragments remain; each letter is surrounded by a border of three lines; the letters are formed of groups of figures; the letters A, B, H, N, and Q are partially coloured with vermilion. 1464 Woodcut

Grotesque Alphabet; the complete alphabet should consist of 23 letters (omitting J, U, and W) and one design of ornamental foliage; in the present edition, the letter S is missing, and of A, T and V only fragments remain; each letter is surrounded by a border of three lines; the letters are formed of groups of figures; the letters A, B, H, N, and Q are partially coloured with vermilion. 1464 Woodcut

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