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Core Record

Title Perpetual calendar
Collection Crafts Study Centre
Calligrapher Edward Johnston
Description One leaf of card, varnished in several different ways, with notes, written in brown and red inks, and annotated in pencil.
Id Number Current Accession C.86.110.4
Inscription undated
Subject calligraphy, trial, writing
Measurements 20.9 x 11.3 centimetres
Material ink on card
Other Materials pencil
Ink brown, red
History Sheet of trail alphabets for Perpetual Calendar. Calendar, made from varnished cardboard mounted in a wooden frame, in the possession of Mr and Mrs Andrew Johnston. Made for Mrs Johnston in 1932 and '33. Johnston's own label for the calendar, written for use at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1935, was:

PERPETUAL CALENDAR (in Frame) written with a Bamboo on Paper; the Motto, the "Keynote", in free copy 14th C. Eng. MS. l.c.; Days in Caps (Thorn used for TH): "Inks" as in my Sonnet MS.
The NUMBERS are written to match the MS, & because of that and because of their large pen-work being forced into a small space, they have acquired a strong MS character (They are, in fact, the first decent Numerals made by me - in 35 years). NOVr is written too Tall for weight - a common scribal fault. Four screens (one in use), for screening off unwanted numbers, are (too bluntly) written upon to pattern the surface of a different plane. Made in 1932-'33. (Joiners are asked to regard the frame as a Sketch for a Frame). E.J., 20 X '35.

The first reference to this, one of the most unusual of Johnston's manuscripts, is on 2 March 1932, 'began planning Calendar'. On 3 March, Greta's birthday, he 'finished March table ... the best figures I ever wrote!'. The April card was written on the fourth, 'figures almost better', and Johnston was also 'looking up quotation'. This he wrote next day, the fifth, also the initials of each day of the week, and he 'rough trimmed a piece of wood', 'cut 3 cards' and mounted the March and April cards. 8 March, after a slack start and reading P.G. Wodehouse, he devoted to 'planning / sizing / wood ... experiment in varnishing with Crystal' varnish - a failure'.

The Calendar is next mentioned on 25 April 1932, when Johnston was 'planning and beginning to make woodwork of Calendar'. He must have worked quickly, for on the 26th he had 'rough finished "drawer" for Calendar Numbers', and by 27 April was able to cut a "mahogany" back', and move on to 'planning and selecting ... thought of double months'.

After another interval, Johnston returned to the Calendar on 6 July, 'ruling sheets'. Over the next two days he wrote and mounted six months' 'figures'. On 15 July he 'pasted "single" Cal. Nos. and pasted specimen for texts', possibly using these on the sixteenth when he began varnishing trials. These he continued for the next ten days, reaching a satisfactory method by 25 July, when he seems to have finished many of the Calendar cards. The next stage of work was to make 'experiments with brown ink for Months', inventing a U as he did so on 28 July. The Calendar must have been nearly complete by then. Possibly Johnston had not allowed for leap years in his original scheme: in 1933, from 3 to 11 March, he set to work on a Screen for any February.
See also 2/733 and 2/742.
Rights Owner Andrew and Angela Johnston/Crafts Study Centre 2004
Style Period Period 1930s
Technique hand-lettering
 

 

 

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