Italic script

Italic script

:"This article is about the calligraphic and handwriting style. Also see Old Italic alphabet or Italic type".

Italic script, also known as chancery cursive, is a semi-cursive, slightly sloped style of handwriting and calligraphy that was developed during the Renaissance in Italy. It is one of the most popular styles used in contemporary Western calligraphy, and is often one of the first scripts learned by beginning calligraphers.


Italic script is based largely on Humanist minuscule, which itself draws on Carolingian minuscule. The letters are the same as the Humanist capitals, modeled on Roman square capitals. The Italian scholar Niccolo Niccoli was dissatisfied with the lowercase forms of Humanist minuscule, however, finding it too slow to write. In response, he created the Italic script, which incorporates features and techniques characteristic of a quickly-written hand: oblique forms, fewer strokes per character, and the joining of letters. Perhaps the most significant change to any single character was to the form of the "a", which he simplified from the two-story form to the one-story form now common in most handwriting styles.

Under the influence of Italic movable type used with printing presses, the style of handwritten Italic script moved towards disjoined, more mannered characters. By the 1550s the Italic script had become so laborious that it fell out of use with scribes.

The style became increasingly influenced by the development of Copperplate writing styles in the eighteenth century. The style Italic script used today is often heavily influenced by developments made as late as the early 20th century. In the past few decades, the italic script has been promoted in English-speaking countries as an easier-to-learn alternative to traditional styles of cursive handwriting. In the UK this revival was due in part to Alfred Fairbank's book "A Handwriting Manual" (1932).


*cite book
last = Harris
first = David
title = The Art of Calligraphy
publisher = DK Publishing, Inc
date = 1995
id = ISBN 0670862703

*cite book
last = Mehigan
first = Janet
coauthors = Mary Noble
title = Beginner's Guide to Calligraphy
publisher = Quarto Publishing plc
date = 1999
id = ISBN 0-7858-1934-7

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