Copperplate script

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A sample of Copperplate Script with offhand flourishing. The pen-holder in the photo (an oblique pen-holder) is commonly used by Copperplate calligraphers.
Not to be confused with Copperplate Gothic.
Sample of a digital Copperplate typeface based on the Letraset Gravura typeface by Phill Grimshaw.

Copperplate, or English round hand, is a style of calligraphic writing, using a sharp pointed nib instead of the flat nib used in most calligraphic writing. Its name comes from the fact that the copybooks from which students learned it were printed from etched copper plates.[1] Copperplate script was prevalent in the 19th century, but was used as early as the 16th century in Europe. As a result, the term "copperplate" is mostly used to refer to any old-fashioned, tidy handwriting.

This style of calligraphy is different from that produced by angled nibs in that the thickness of the stroke is determined by the pressure applied when writing, instead of nib angle in relation to the writing surface. All copperplate forms (minuscules, majuscules, numbers, and punctuation) are written at a letter slant of 55 degrees from the horizontal.[2]

Copperplate is also the style in which the body of the United States Declaration of Independence is printed.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ copperplates (definition 4)
  2. ^ Winters, Eleanor: Mastering Copperplate – A Step-by-Step Manual for Calligraphers. Watson-Guptill, NY, 1989
  3. ^ David Skinner. "The Formation of Character". The New Atlantis. Retrieved 28 May 2010.