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 Old hand-writing styles 
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Post Old hand-writing styles
Hello everyone!
I have got facsimile copies of the testaments of both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. They are interesting and rare editions printed in Marseille by René Borricand with the Association (Secours populaire par l'entraide et la solidarité) of the political prisoners and their families SPES in 1962.

The handwriting in there is fascinating. Louis writes so purely and elegantly, Marie Antoinette more emotionally style.
I would like to know more about the hadwriting styles then. Is there a good book to recommend? What are the basic principles to follow when forming the alphabet etc?
It is also interesting that when i was reading Understanding Thomas Jefferson by E.M.Halliday(Perennial 2002) there is mentioned that Jefferson did not use capitalized letters in the beginning of the sentences (except for "I"). I have read that it was a habit in the classical textes, is this true?And wasn't Marie Antoinette's signature and handwriting to become more and more written in that mannner, no capitalization.
Was this in general à la mode? :shock:


Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:07 pm
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Marie-Antoinette often forgot to accentuate the "e", but it was not a fashion, it was mistakes writen because of a lack of concentration.
And she did not use capital letters at each beginning of sentence. But I do not know if it was fashion style...

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Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:27 pm
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That's true, Aurora, Marie Antoinette's scripture changed as time went by. Her first letter shw a cursive handwrting but, later, she would separate her letters, for using a king of "disjoint" scripture, which I find quite elegant ! She began by signing with capital M and A, but, later, she would use "m" and "a". She only uses "," or ".", rarely ";", and, as Chou said, forgot about the french accentuation. Hey ! She was an Austrian, after all ! :wink: Some typical mistakes are germanisms... and that's so moving !

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Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:07 pm
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18th and 19th century handwriting can be difficult to write at times!


Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:56 pm
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Not quite on topic, but I asked a friend who is interested in handwriting analysis and she pointed me to a book by Marion Brannan, Twenty Remarkable Women Seen Through Their Handwriting. Perhaps one you might like to track down Aurora - I don't believe Marie Antoinette is in there but it does look at the history of handwriting analysis and I'm told points out some very interesting features in the scripts of the women included.

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Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:36 pm
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Thank you Adrienne, sounds interesting book.

I admire Louis's handwriting. It is absolutely pure. And he was so under stress when he wrote these pages. The big letters J, T etc, always form an elegant curve, not in any kind of arrogance or "over-power". Louis was a true majestic and stayed low-key style. And what a will of power to write four pages like a perfect exercise, also from a strong, muscular, big man. It is not common, this total control of force.

Chère Marie Antoinette! She had tears falling to the paper, there are big marks allover. It has been suggested that her testament (a letter to Mme Elisabeth) is not a real one, but I think also that it is, although it was passed on to Bault and then to Fouquier-Tinville.
This small note of 4h 1/2 du matin is much more clearly written, although the content is tragic. I love especially the "d" with the curve, so typical to her.

P.S. Joan Haslip mentioned Marie Antoinette in Temple singing old Austrian songs from her childhood (as well Grétry). Does anyone knows more about them? She had a clavichord there, and at least the partition for this Symphony of Haydn no 85 and she gave lessons to Marie Therese and Mme Elisabeth.
According to Lamorlières memoirs Queen heard in Conciergerie someone playing the harp, and asked if it was some woman prisoner. It was in real the daughter of a glazier who was working on her windows. This is a lovely scene, if it was true and certainly not "an accident" but to comfort her. Perhaps it is impossible to track these pieces.. :(


Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:29 am
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Oh, Aurora, you moved me ! I have no information about these pieces, but I'd like to ! Please, if you find something new, tell us !

Louis has a very clear scripture, indeed... and he was a lefthand writer.

Marie Antoinette's last letter is now without contest. It is published in Evelyne Lever's book. You can see it is written by Marie Antoinette, with her typical mistakes, and her absence of punctuation.

But it is true this document once was copied, with a scripture resembling hers, and with the mistakes corrected. I have an exemplar of this copy. It is amazing ! It looks like Antoinette's handwriting... but you feel there is something wrong with the rythm...

I have the greatest doubts about this little note you mention, Aurora. The scripture looks very different, far more "haevy" than Antoinette's, that actually is very small, tiny, just like laces... lovely ! Furthermore, there are exclamation marks, which the queen never used. I never saw any exclamation or even question mark under her quill.

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Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:35 am
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Merci beaucoup, Pimprenelle about your info. I looked very closely and focused these lines. You are absolutely right, the note is not original (sad), I have not got the false testament version but I rely on your information. Does anyone know, who copied her music in notes? It would be lovely to see her handwriting in notes. By the way copying the music notes was a good profession at that time, for example J-J Rousseau's profession.

And the little Louis-Charles's writing exercises are so moving in Musée Carnavalet (which museum for some reason I don't feel good going inside, last time I got even lost and was nearly having a panic, running through the history.)


Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:08 am
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Here, Aurora, you can see a copy of Antoinette's last letter :
http://pierre.lempereur.free.fr/Testame ... 0marie.htm

It is obvious, the spots are copied too ! They corrected the mistakes, and they also tried to imitate Antoinette's scripture. Amazing !

:lol: BTW, I just noticed they even put this false document on wiki Germany !

Here is the authentic letter :
http://marais.evous.fr/marais/rues/rue- ... toire.html

Moving, isn't it ? Those tears... but also this so firm handwriting. After two days trial, so late in the night, and condamned to death ! Admirable, cette femme est admirable !

I don't know who wrote Antoinette's notes. Don't you think she would do it herself, while composing ?

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Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:24 am
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Very beautiful copy! :D

It seems that they also added the accents on the "E"...And the punctuation is correct indeed!
This letter is definitely really incredible and moving...

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Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:07 pm
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For your question Pimprenelle, I do not know, because they were never printed as far as I know at her time. Some composers used to write while composing their own material and later a copyist made them again "in a grand manner". Which is not always bad, because some of the composer's had (have) terrible handwriting, and it is not clear to see what their meant, and I do think (and hope) that Marie Antoinette's music was played more than once. so it is possible that her works were carefully copied after her own sketches and then elegantly put in her music library to be read to charm all.

But, I have never in Archives or Bibliothèques seen the originals! Only melody lines from songs that are written out later and various arrangements to suit as an accompaniment to the melody. Some of these arrangements for example in printed music collections (women composers etc) are simply horrible, poorly connected to the period, over-romantic, too grandious for Marie Antoinette style etc. According to how much the makers want money and what are the copyright laws in their country, there is mentioned composed/attributed to /maybe composed /some people claim/ by Marie Antoinette.

Thank you for your interesting links, I love playing a detective with the letters. :wink:


Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:14 pm
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Oh dear ! What musics are attributed to Marie Antoinette, please ? I'm dying to know more about this !

I only know "Portrait Charmant" (lyrics and music by Antoinette), "C'est mon ami" (lyrics by Florian, music by Antoinette) and "Pauvre Jacques" (lyrics by Antoinette, music by marquise de Travanet)
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/french/pauvreja.htm

That's all I know ! That's poor... :cry: Do you have more information, Aurora ?

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Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:56 pm
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That is not at all poor chère Pimprenelle!
There are also some harp-based opera sequences attributed to her, that at least were performed in Versailles Millenium party. But the concert pictures I have seen show for example a baroque orchestra (with baroque harp as basso continuo instrument) and this was not the type of harp Queen played and composed, so...

Since I have to take my research in this field very seriously I do not want to spread incomplete information about her compositions as a fact, but believe me I am currently working on them. It only requires so much time to read through all the possible material, while having the other projects going on. And I find it fascinating to look for everything relating to her in music, her compositions, (lyrics), pieces by others she played, liked, were written for her or memoralia pieces post-humous.
:D


Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:19 pm
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Aurora, you are a gem ! Je t'adore !!! :D

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Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:49 pm
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Votre gentillesse, chère Madame.. :oops: :D


Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:57 pm
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