the ‘Macclesfield Alphabet Book’

A collection of 14 different sets of specimen initials or letters in alphabetical order in Gothic script of the 15th century, with later additions in Humanistic script of the early 16th century. A list of names each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet from Adam to Zacharias, including several names of English origin and a prayer, both samples of Gothic textura script with spaces left for initials. Patterns for decorative borders. The work was perhaps used by artists for the transmission of ideas to assistants, or as a sample book to show potential customers.Decoration: Initials are in ink or in colours, some with zoomorphic or anthropomorphic decoration including grotesques, some with cadels, foliate or pen-flourished decoration. Drawing of an uprooted tree with a shield inscribed ‘R.B. An emblem, perhaps a rebus in colours with gold with three flowers and two gold gloves hanging down and the word ‘cli[m]i[n]g’ or ‘ch[ar]i[n]g’ beneath (see de Hamel The Macclesfield alphabet book : BL Additional MS 88887, p. 21) and with a smaller ink sketch of the same emblem on the same page. Sketches and drawings; full or partial borders with initials; painted border panels in colours with gold, perhaps added in the 16th century.

The ‘Macclesfield Alphabet Book’ in The British Library