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Writing Sonnets, imitation and decoration

Watch this video on how to write italic hand and try your hand at writing out one of the sonnets you have read and decorating it.

Sonnets were handwritten and circulated in manuscript between intimates at the court, as critic Patricia Fumerton has argued, so the writing of a sonnet was a physical as well as compositional labour of love.

Watch this video on how to write in italic hand as Lady Mary Wroth did, and then try your own hand at copying out and decorating a sonnet by Sir Philip Sidney, as the younger generation of sonneteers did.

When Robert Sidney wrote to his wife ‘I thank Malkin for her letter and am exceeding glad to see that she writes so well’ (Letter C81/68 6th October 1595) he was referring to his daughter Mary’s italic handwriting – letter writing in a very material form.

Try copying one of the sonnets in your own handwriting or italic hand and decorate it to make it a beautiful gift. The downloadable documents give you a copy of Sir Philip Sidney’s sonnet, details and photographs of the italic hand and directions for how to make letter forms, decorative capitals and pen decorations. There are also examples of decoration by calligraphy students and provide links to further examples from the work done by calligraphers for the ‘Dramatizing Penshurst’ project.

Illustrate your sonnet to make it decorative and upload to this Padlet wall

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Penshurst Place and the Sidney Family of Writers

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