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lettering percy smith sculpture stone

Memorial lettering

A tradition of fine hand-cut memorials exists in the UK. I was once a small part of that heritage, being commissioned to create bespoke headstones and other memorials for clients. Over the last week as part of a effort to simplify my ever growing lettering collection and archives I came across these images of mine, all made in England and pre-dating 2004 which was when we moved to Australia. I would often use both sides of the stone with the client providing a piece of prose or poetry appropriate to the person being memorialised which I’d carve on the reverse. These three examples show this, the first and third in green slate, the middle one in Welsh black:

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I also made this piece for the courtyard of a church in Essex, England. It is limestone and slate.

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Alas, there is, as far as I can discern, such a tradition in this part of the world. Maybe I should start one…

Also see this post on Percy Smith. Also see my page on sculptural items.

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calligraphy History of Lettering percy smith

Further on Percy Smith – 1907

It was June last year that I ran a piece on Percy Smith (see here), who I had come across through his book, Civic and Memorial Lettering. Today I chanced upon some old copies of the Newsletter produced by the Society of Scribes and Illuminators hidden away at the bottom of a bookcase of mine. I may have joined the group briefly in the 1980s, or have bought them as job lot somewhere, I really can’t remember now. Anyhow, on the front cover of the issue dated Spring 1980 is this photo taken in 1907 at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. It’s a fascinating picture in its own right and, as the caption notes, all but one of the twenty students are women. The caption goes on: “A clock in the photograph [not shown] reads 2.57pm and according to the school prospectus for 1907 Percy Smith taught the afternoon calligraphy class. He may be seen at the back talking to a student.”

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lettering percy smith

More on Percy Smith

[For previous post please go here]

Mike Ashworth has some further images of Percy Smith’s lettering on Flickr. Please see here

Lettering by Percy Smith, Curwen Press Almanack, 1926

I am indebted to Peter Delf (a great nephew) of the Percy Smith Foundation for providing that information (sent via email), and also for the following regarding two other books that Percy published during his lifetime.

Lettering : a handbook of modern alphabets

by Percy John Delf Smith

Language: English  Type:  Book

Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1936.

Lettering & writing; a series of alphabets and their decorative treatment, with examples & notes illustrative of construction, arrangement, spacing, and adaptation of letters to materials;

by Percy John Delf Smith

Language: English  Type:  Book

Publisher: London, B.T. Batsford; New York, C. Scribner’s sons [1908]