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Calligraphy >> Alfred Fairbank (1895-1982)
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Alfred Fairbank

Born in 1895, Fairbank attended evening classes in calligraphy and illumination at the Central School of Arts and Crafts under W. Graily Hewitt and Lawrence Christie. He was interested in italic writing and every aspect of its revival and in 1928 designed a condensed 'Bembo' italic type face. He published handwriting manuals and histories between 1932 and 1970, while also working as an official of the Admiralty in Bath. His Book of Scripts, a King Penguin book, was first published in 1949 and his series of Beacon Writing Books for schools appeared from 1957 to 1963. Alfred Fairbank collaborated on many projects with the illuminator, Louise Powell, including on his manuscript book Ecclesiasticus (1926-9), commissioned by the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Works are also in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

He moved to Hove, Sussex, in the 1950s and devoted himself to the study of paleography, researching and writing learned books, articles and reviews. He also taught italic writing to student teachers. In 1979 Alfred Fairbank was made an honorary member of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators (SSI), of which he had been a founding member in 1921.



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